Mining, oil & gas

Down to Earth No.

Down to Earth No. 48, February 2001


As huge oil and gas developments continue in Indonesia, communities in areas where these industries operate are becoming more vocal in demanding a stop to pollution and fair compensation.

Communities in Riau, East Kalimantan, Aceh, and Java are engaged in an unequal struggle with some of the world's most powerful transnational companies.

Down to Earth No. 48 February 2001


For the Muluy Dayak community in East Kalimantan, small-scale gold mining is part of their traditional way of life. adat (customary law) governs their gold-panning activities, practised using simple equipment made from materials collected in the surrounding forests. But this integral part of Muluy livelihood is now under threat. Mining company surveyors have recently shown interest in the community's gold mining area.

Down to Earth No. 48 February 2001


US-based mining giant Newmont has launched an aggressive attack on environmental group WALHI, over accusations of damage to human health at the company's gold mine at Ratatotok, North Sulawesi.

In January WALHI announced the results of blood tests on 20 people living at Buyat Bay, near PT Newmont Minahasa Raya's mine. The people had all complained of deteriorating health during the past three years. Blood samples, taken by WALHI North Sulawesi and JATAM and analysed in a US laboratory, showed high levels of arsenic and mercury.

Down to Earth No 48 February 2001

CIFOR researcher's body found in Aceh mass grave

A mass grave, containing 14 bodies was uncovered in Terbangan, Kluet Selatan, South Aceh in January. One has been identified as a researcher with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Bandung.

Three young researchers from CIFOR and a member of the Gunung Leuser national park management, disappeared in September 1999. The corpses of three women from Medan in neighbouring North Sumatra province were also found in the grave.

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000


Mining companies are lobbying to change legislation which prohibits open-pit mining in areas designated as protected forests.

"Forest lands can only be used for development needs other than forestry in Protection and Production Forest areas . . .  No open-pit mining is permissible within Protection Forest areas." 
(Article 38, Forestry Law 41, 1999)

Indonesia's new forestry law, passed last year, prohibits open-pit mining in forests classified as 'protected forests'.

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000


There has been further conflict at indigenous mining lands inside the PT Indo Muro Kencana gold concession operated by Australia's Aurora Gold in Central Kalimantan.

Families from the local Dayak Siang, Murung and Bekumpai communities were hauled out of their beds and forced onto trucks by heavily armed mobile brigade police forces early on June 7th. Their possessions were thrown on the ground, their homes were then torn down and fifteen people were arrested.