Source : Mongabay
May 23, 2011
Indonesia’s mining industry expects the just-implemented moratorium on new forestry concessions in primary forests and peatlands to allow underground coal and gold mining in protected areas, reports the Jakarta Globe. Speaking with Jakarta Globe reporter Fidelis Satriastanti, Irwandy Arif, chairman of the Indonesian Mining Professionals Association, said the decree’s exemption on permits for thermal energy could extend to minerals. “We’ve been waiting for this presidential regulation, especially for mining lead in Dairi, North Sumatra,” Irwandy told the Jakarta Globe. “The regulation gives legal certainty and will attract miners to invest more in silver, lead and gold mining.”
The decree, signed last week, allows underground resource extraction in protected forests provided miners agree to rehabilitate damaged watersheds and rivers, compensate an area of land twice as large as the concession they plan to exploit, build infrastructure needed to support mining production, and do not change the general use and purpose of the area as defined under state zoning regulations.
The exemption could be a boon to coal miners that have exhausted surface deposits typically exploited via open pit mining. Although it doesn’t rank among the world’s top ten in coal reserves, Indonesia was the largest exporter of thermal coal in 2009. The exemption does not apply to conservation forests, national parks or nature reserves. Under Indonesia’s classification system, protection forests are zoned to maintain watersheds and ecosystem function. Logging is prohibited in protection forests.