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Jakarta Post

Valuable rust

Tue, July 25, 2017   /   08:57 am
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    A worker cutting metal on a dock in Kamal, Madura Island, East Java, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. The sheet metal is sold to a smelter. Each worker earns Rp 100,000 per day. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    Workers cut a ship at Kamal on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. They need around two months to finish deconstructing one ship into sheet metal. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    A worker uses a welding tool to cut the metal of a ship. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    Workers collect all sizes of sheet metal, down to the smallest. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    Three workers cut the hull of a ship. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    A worker observes his surroundings before cutting iron with a welding tool so as not to endanger his colleagues. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    A pile of iron, which has been cut into smaller sizes, is ready to be transported by truck. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

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    A worker prays in a temporary resting room. JP/Sigit Pamungkas

Madurese people are famous for their persistence and perseverance, especially in their business specialty: metals.

For them rusty metals are but unpolished diamonds, waiting to be turned into money.

In Tanjung Jati village, Kamal district, in Bangkalan regency, Madura island – which is east of Surabaya – rows of rusty ships can be found in the process of being cut into sheet metal.

Locals work hard and need around two months to deconstruct a ship into sheet metal. Each of them earns around Rp 100,000 (US$7.7) per day.

The ships can come from all around Indonesia and even neighboring countries.

Despite rumors the business is illegal, the activity continues and rows of ships can reach almost 1 kilometer in length. [yan]