- Critics of the Indonesian authorities’s plan to construct a brand new capital metropolis within the coal-mining area of East Kalimantan province have warned in regards to the long-abandoned mining pits that dot the panorama.
- The federal government has now acknowledged this can be an issue: it says it has recognized 2,415 pits on the web site of the brand new metropolis, masking a mixed space of 29,000 hectares (71,700 acres).
- It additionally says it has been working to rehabilitate these dormant mines since 2021 – a revelation that has raised considerations that the general public is paying for the work, which should be carried out by coal corporations.
- Authorities options to cope with rainwater-filled potholes have additionally been criticized, resembling utilizing them as sources of contemporary water for the brand new metropolis, although the water is as acidic as abdomen acid. .
JAKARTA — The Indonesian authorities’s controversial plan to maneuver the nation’s capital from Jakarta to Borneo has struck one in all a number of setbacks critics have lengthy warned about: hundreds of deserted coal-mining pits on the web site of the brand new metropolis. presence of.
The Minister of the Surroundings, Metropolis Nurbaya Bakr, revealed the size of the issue throughout a parliamentary listening to on 28 March, the place he acknowledged that the location in East Kalimantan province is stuffed with 2,415 potholes, masking a mixed space of 29,000 hectares (71,700 acres). does. ,
The area is named the coal-mining heartland of Indonesia; About 40% of the overall land space of East Kalimantan has been earmarked for coal concessions.
Metropolis stated its ministry had begun rehabilitating a few of these deserted pits in 2021.
“We have now monitored, tried to check and do checks to rehabilitate [the open pits]’ he advised the lawmakers.
The revelation has sparked a refrain of “I advised you so” by activists questioning the viability of the resettlement plan because it was introduced by President Joko Widodo in 2019. Certainly one of them is the Mining Advocacy Community (JATM), a watchdog NGO. has lengthy campaigned in regards to the risks of deserted mining pits and known as for the businesses accountable to be held accountable.
Pradarma Rupang, head of Jatam’s East Kalimantan chapter, questioned why the federal government – and, by extension, the Indonesian public – ought to pay to rehabilitate the potholes. By legislation, coal corporations are required to scrub up the losses they left behind, fill mining pits, and rebuild or restore mining websites.
Nevertheless, many corporations usually shirk this duty, abandoning gaping holes that finally fill with rainwater to type “pit lakes”. Pradarma stated that within the case of the brand new capital, known as Nusantara, the general public seems to have been left holding luggage.
“It turns into an escape route for the miners to flee their duty” [to rehabilitate and close mining pits],” he was quoted as saying by native media. “It’s making white a sin as a result of it’s the state that’s taking the duty of restoration.”
The Ministry of Vitality and Mining, which is chargeable for guaranteeing that corporations rehabilitate their dormant mines, has denied that rehabilitation on the Nusantara web site can be paid for by the state.
Soni Heri Prasetyo, head of the ministry’s Coal and Minerals Data Working Group, stated rehabilitation is the duty of miners who’ve the concessions set out within the 2020 Mining Act, and there aren’t any exceptions. Nevertheless, he didn’t clarify how the Nusantara rehabilitation can be paid for, or why there have been deserted pits there within the first place if there was actually no exception to the requirement that coal corporations rehabilitate their websites.
The federal government’s proposed options to cope with pothole lakes have additionally been placed on maintain. Surroundings Minister Citi stated they’ll both be became swampy forests, which function wildlife habitats; or developed as agro-tourism locations, the place guests pay to fish in pits stuffed with rainwater; Or used as a supply of contemporary water for the residents of the brand new capital.
Pradarma warned that until the crater lakes had been stuffed with earth, neither of these choices could possibly be thought of protected.
“The mining pits should be retrieved and closed,” he stated. “Once they do not shut, they’re going to endanger the native folks close by.”
In keeping with Jatam knowledge, between 2011 and 2021, at the very least 40 folks, together with 33 kids, died of drowning within the pit lakes.
“These mining pits will result in new victims, resembling kids drowning,” Pradarma stated.
There’s additionally the query of utilizing the crater lakes as a supply of freshwater, some extent on which Siti herself refuted.
He initially advised parliament that “these former mines that had been flooded needs to be used as a water supply for the brand new capital.”
However she later reported that the water, usually a startling shade of turquoise, can be too acidic for human use due to reactions with the varied parts discovered with coal. In keeping with Citi, the pH stage in pit lakes can go as much as 2.6—making the water rather more acidic than acid rain, or as sturdy as abdomen acid.
The idea that Indonesia’s new capital metropolis should depend on these acidic swimming pools for its water factors to a different widespread criticism of the rehabilitation plan: the truth that contemporary water is scarce on the Nusantara web site.
This was confirmed by Sigit Reliantoro, Director Common for Environmental Degradation and Air pollution Mitigation of the Ministry of Surroundings. Talking on the similar parliamentary listening to, he stated the brand new strategic environmental evaluation for the venture has revealed a depletion of groundwater on the location of the brand new capital.
Sigit stated the federal government has already constructed a reservoir within the neighboring district of North Penjam Paser to produce water to the brand new capital, and plans to construct “two or three extra” to serve the town.
Banner picture: Coal mining pit on the web site of Indonesia’s new capital in Kutai Kartanegara district of East Kalimantan. Picture courtesy of Mining Advocacy Community (JATM).
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