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Jakarta Post

19 die at former mining sites in East Kalimantan

  • N. Adri

    The Jakarta Post

Balikpapan   /   Tue, January 5, 2016   /  03:11 pm

Nineteen people including children and teenagers drowned in 2015 at former mining sites in Samarinda and Kutai Kartanegara (Kukar), East Kalimantan.

The East Kalimantan Network for Mining Advocacy (Jatam) noted that four of the victims died within a span of only 90 days.

'€œThat'€™s why we urge the Kukar acting regent and East Kalimantan governor to declare an emergency situation on mining holes and to conduct audits on all mines in Kukar and Samarinda,'€ Merah Johansyah of East Kalimantan Jatam said on Sunday.

The network, he said, also urged the police to investigate cases of environmental crimes as stipulated in articles 97 to 112 of Law No. 32/2009 as well as Law No. 32/2009 on environmental management.

'€œThe holders of the licenses and the employers in charge have to be taken to court, or the head of the Kukar environment agency and mining survey officers who neglected their duties of making sure that reclamation was carried out should be dismissed,'€ Merah said.

The latest incident occurred on Dec. 29, when 9-year-old Dewi Ratna Pratiwi, the daughter of Aris Munandar and Rika Rosita, drowned in a former mining pool located at the back of the family'€™s house in Sumbersari subdistrict, Kukar.

Merah said that with 600 mining business licenses issued by the Kukar regent, the regency could experience more incidents than to Samarinda. '€œThis regency made sales of mining licenses by putting people'€™s safety and the environment at risk,'€ he said.

According to Ketut Bagia Yasa of East Kalimantan Jatam'€™s case report division, one former mining pool was only 70 meters away from a residential complex.

This, he said, violated Environment and Forestry Ministry Regulation No. 4/2012 on environmentally friendly indicators for open coal mines, which required mines to be at least 500 meters from residences.

Previously, Mulyadi, 15, also died in a former mining pool in Loa Ipuh Darat near Tenggarong, Kukar, forcing East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak to temporarily stop the operation of 13 coal mines in the province.

'€œI almost cried receiving the report [on Mulayadi'€™s death]. I convey my deepest condolences,'€ Awang said.

He said he had coordinated with the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry'€™s Directorate General of Coal Mining, especially on the licenses issued by the ministry.

Separately, East Kalimantan Mining and Energy Agency head Amrullah said that his office found it difficult to deal with such cases because most of the victims had died when the authority to issue licenses had not yet been handed over to the provincial administration and was still in the hands of the respective regents and mayors.

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