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E. Kalimantan Governor Wants Mining and Palm Oil Plantation Permits
Revoked to
 Oct 21, 2012 09:37 PDT 

From Joyo

E. Kalimantan Governor Wants Mining and Palm Oil Plantation Permits
Revoked to Protect Environment

October 20, 2012

The Jakarta Globe
by Tunggadewa Mattangkilang

Samarinda, East Kalimantan: Seeking to curb unnecessary environmental
damage in his province, East Kalimantan Governor Awang Farouk Ishak on
Friday instructed district heads and mayors to revoke mining and
plantations permits of companies encroaching on protected forest

Awang said the companies mainly operated around the city of Samarinda
and in the districts of Kutai Kartanegara, East Kutai and West Kutai.

“This must stop,” he said. “Evaluate the issuances of existing
permits. The problematic [concessions] must be stopped and their
licenses revoked, particularly in those four areas.”

A lack of scrutiny by lenient officials had allowed mining firms and
palm oil plantation companies to secure permits for concessions that
overlapped protected forests, Awang said.

It was the 742 land dispute cases currently making their way through
area courts that spurred the governor to take firmer action against
offending companies.

“This is what got me thinking about imposing a moratorium or
temporary stoppage of mining and plantation activities in East
Kalimantan, although that would create controversy,” he said.

“That is why I need the support and advice from the [East
Kalimantan] High Court,” he added.

Awang said the government is not yet planning on a complete ban on
mining or palm oil plantations in the province but is instructing
district heads not to issue more permits before the existing claims
are resolved.

Failing to resolve land disputes also increases the danger of violent
conflict breaking out, the governor added.

Bob Kamandaru, chairman of the Indonesian Coal Mining Association,
said the 2009 law on mineral and coal mining had given district and
city governments too much license to issue permits, paving the way for
overlaps with spatial planning and protected forest areas set by the
provincial and district government.

Bob said mining concessions have often been granted to inexperienced
and unethical companies, which harm the environment with unprocessed
waste, crude mining methods and the use of hazardous materials.

“Right now, out of the 8,523 mining permits issued across Indonesia
only 3,778 are not overlapping with other mining areas. The overlaps
in some places have led to violent conflicts,” he said.
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