Nickel miner Laman Mining is suspected of illegal bauxite mining operations, disrupting orangutan habitat in West Kalimantan's Tulak River forest.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry raided the company's sites in Puring and Kempapakon on Aug. 20, finding seven heavy-duty vehicles for excavation.
Laman Mining claimed the areas were included in its mining business permit (IUP). According to forest maps, however, Puring and Kempapak belong to the Tulak River convertible production forest area, to which Laman has no rights. Convertible production forests are forested areas that the government can designate for a limited use such as farming.
The Tulak River forest area is also Palung Mountain National Park's buffer zone as well as orangutan habitat, neither of which should be disrupted.
"This is an extraordinary evil," Rasio Ridho Sani, the ministry's director of law enforcement, said in a statement on Sunday (26/08).
The ministry is questioning Laman's directors and commissioners.
"We are also investigating the possibility that money laundering was involved in this illegal mining operation," Rasio said.
Under a 2013 law on prevention of forest destruction, the company's officials may face between eight and 20 years in prison, if convicted, while the company may face a fine of Rp 20 billion ($1.37 million) to Rp 50 billion.
Source: Jakarta Globe
28 August 2018