The Ombudsman’s Central Sulawesi office urged the provincial administration to end the practice of illegal mining, which was feared to have negatively impacted the environment.
The office, which oversees public service complaints, recorded numerous reports of illegal gold mining in the province, the office’s head Sofyan Farid Lembah said.
The practice was reported to have occurred in at least three villages in South Lore district, which is part of the protected Lore Lindu National Park in Poso regency. Around 300 miners operated in the area, where there were around 50 open pits.
The miners allegedly used chemical substances, such as mercury, for gold processing, which caused restlessness in residents of the area over the environmental impacts caused by the practice, especially in threatening the ecosystem at the park, which is also a cultural heritage site where ancient megalith statues surround the mining area.
“So the mining activities must be put to an end,” Sofyan told The Jakarta Post.
Moreover, Ombudsman also pushed for the Central Sulawesi administration to manage the mining areas in the province.
Meanwhile, Lore Lindu National Park head Sudayatna said one of the illegal gold mines in Dongi-Dongi, which was located inside the park, had been closed. The park’s authorities had also rehabilitated the open pits by planting trees.
Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola had previously said that he would impose legal sanctions on the illegal miners who opened mines in the protected area.(rin)