Sunday, January 1, 2012

Minister asks Bima regent to scrap permit

Minister asks Bima regent to scrap permit
Rangga D. Fadillah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 12/31/2011 10:26 AM
A | A | A |

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said on Friday he had requested West Nusa Tenggara administration to scrap the mining permit of PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara (SMN) after two people died last week during an anti-mining protest.

Jero said the province’s governor would order Bima regent, Ferry Zulkarnain, to revoke the permit, which was first issued in 2008 to explore gold in the regency.

“The mining law grants the right to the regent to issue the permit, but it doesn’t mean that the natural resources are for his own interest,” said Jero, who is a senior politician in President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono’s Democratic Party.

“Before issuing a permit, a regent should discuss it first with his people. Without such approval, the regent should not go ahead,” he said.

Bima regency granted the permit under the business mining license (IUP) scheme, which gives regents full authority to grant such permits.

According to Jero, the central government could not directly revoke the permit because the minerals and coal law stipulated the regent’s authority in issuing and revoking permits.

“I hope that what happened in Bima will not happen again in other places in the future. I warn all regents to be wiser in issuing mining permits,” he said.

IUP permits remain problematic. The directorate general of minerals and coal at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has estimated that around 60 percent of 9,662 IUP permit issued across the country have no “clean and clear” status.

The Indonesian Mining Association (IMA) has also expressed its support for the government in revoking problematic mining permits, including the one in Bima.

A decision to revoke the mining permit has raised concerns about legal uncertainty in doing business in Indonesia, where an operating license can easily be revoked despite the company having no direct involvement in a particular incident.

According to the Mineral Resources and Coal Law, a mining permit can be revoked if a company commits a crime, fails to realize its investment commitment or violates environment regulations.

Indonesian Resources Studies (Iress) chairman Marwan Batubara believed the Bima case would not create business uncertainty as the issue of the permit was already problematic in the first place.

 He said the core of the dispute was that the local administration and the company had not consulted with the people on the plan to operate a mine in the location, creating concerns it would trigger environmental damage.

Bima residents have protested against the mining operation over concerns about disruption to their farms and plantations, and last week’s protest ended in the fatal shooting of two protesters by the police at a close range.

SMN, a joint venture with Australia’s publicly listed ARC Exploration Ltd., is still in the exploration phase.

john boehner|yosemite|nfl|better homes and gardens|dark knight rises

No comments:

Post a Comment