May 28, 2018

HCV areas being destroyed by bauxite mining company

( - High conservation value (HCV) areas set aside by palm oil companies are not always easy to maintain. An example of this is the case of the ongoing bauxite exploitation by PT Laman Mining in parts of the HCV areas in the PT KAL concession, a subsidiary of Indonesian-listed company PT ANJT Tbk whose palm oil concession lies in West Kalimantan’s Ketapang regency.

In addition to the more than 2,300 hectare HCV area block, another HCV area is also found in the PT KAL concession, namely the Bukit Kiras ecosystem, both of which consist of a peat ecosystem and are home to the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan. Part of these HCV areas are currently being dredged to mine bauxite by the Laman Mining.

The photos below, taken from various angles, show the level of PT Laman Mining’s operations taking place in a section of the PT KAL palm oil concession which was set aside for landscape-based conservation purposes.

Incessant dredging

New evidence sourced from a ground-check conducted by the team confirms that PT Laman Mining is continuing to dredge parts of the Bukit Kiras ecosystem, for the purpose of bauxite mining. In doing this, the mining company is busily destroying the ecosystem and hill from which Bukit Kiras gets its name.

The following photos depict how parts of the Bukit Kiras ecosystem are being dredged unrelentingly by PT Laman Mining for its business interests.    

Blatant peat violations 

President Joko Widodo imposed a ban on new peat development, including new canal construction, in early December 2016. Alarmingly, PT Laman Mining’s actions are actually far more destructive than building new canals, in that the company is literally tearing up the local peat ecosystem for its bauxite mining business. 

There can be no doubt, judging by the law enforcement measures previously taken by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry against pulpwood and palm oil companies found to have engaged in similar practices, that PT Laman Mining’s activities constitute a clear violation of the country’s peat-related regulations.

Ongoing excavation

The peat forests distributed within parts of PT KAL’s HCV areas remain a target for the expansion of bauxite exploitation by the mining company. As such, these destructive practices are still underway irrespective of the fact that they represent peat violations.

The photos below portray the ongoing excavation by PT Laman Mining of the Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests situated in parts of the Bukit Kiras ecosystem in order to extend the company’s bauxite mining operations. The mining company’s activities are on full display on the ground. 

The evidence gathered during the ground-check and seen in the photographs serves to reinforce the notion that the peat forests spread among the PT Laman Mining concession located in parts of PT KAL’s HCV areas are a target for bauxite mining expansion. 

In light of this, the ongoing annihilation of the peat ecosystem of the HCV areas, which according to research done by Bogor Agricultural University (2013) has a peat depth in excess of 5 meters, has to be stopped by putting an end to the constant dredging, among other means by undertaking urgent law enforcement action. 

In fact, the PT Laman Mining concession is not only part of the PT KAL HCV areas, but also forms part of an Essential Ecosystem Area established by West Kalimantan’s governor last year. Such an area is in no way allowed to be damaged and destroyed in the manner it is by PT Laman Mining.

As the operations of PT Laman Mining continue unabated, rapidly wiping out the area’s peat ecosystem, it is imperative that law enforcement measures are imposed by the Environment and Forestry Ministry against this company.

This would be a fair course of action given that pulpwood and palm oil companies which have carried out new peat development have also previously been hit with severe sanction