The Jakarta Post
Illegal gold miners hailing from many different areas sneaked their way into Lore Lindu National Park in Dongi-Dongi village, Poso regency, Central Sulawesi.
The illegal miners came in groups at night and dug an open pit in the protected area, the head of Lore Lindu National Park Sudayatna said.
“There are still miners sneaking into the national park to search for gold ore,” he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
There are security guards and police posts stationed at the entrance gate of the national park, but as the miners crept their way in at night, it has been hard to catch them, he added. The miners allegedly used illegal routes through locals' plantations to get in and out of the park.
Local authorities had curbed illegal mining in Lore Lindu National Park since 2016 over concerns that the activities might have a negative environmental impact.
Based on field observations by the Post, there are freshly dug holes five to 10 meters deep, covered with logs taken from the forest.
Central Sulawesi police chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi said the police had covered the holes and were also involved in a tree planting program on the former mining sites after the curb in 2016.
He said he would send his personnel to check the location and also to probe whether or not there were indications of unauthorized fees taken by security personnel.
“I will dismiss the members involved in the scheme,” he said. (rin)