Indonesian coal miners hailed the government’s decision to impose a moratorium on the issuance of new mining permits, saying the freeze would be needed to give authorities time to settle the growing conflicts resulting from overlapping permits.
Speaking with Jakarta post reporter Rangga D Fadillah, the Indonesian Coal Mining Association said that association fully supported the government’s plan, since overlapping permit conflicts had been a problem for coal mining businesses operating in Indonesia.
He added that “This is a very good move.” The number of mining permits issued has increased sharply since the passing of the new mining law in 2009, which empowers local administrations to issue mining permits in their areas. Since the implementation of the law, the number of mining permits increased to 10,245 as of August, last year, up from 597 permits in 2000.
A government official said that one result of the significant increase in the number of new permits being issued was that many mining permits overlapped one another since they were issued without following a standard mapping system or the procedures that had been laid out by the central government.
Supriatna said that regional governments also granted many mining concessions without following regulations such as obliging the permit holders to conduct environmental impact analyses (Amdal) and submit explorations.
He added that “Many of those governments didn’t know what to do. They didn’t understand the procedures. Due to these problems, even permits for state-owned coal producer PT Bukit Asam were given to other companies. That’s why verification and permit audits are necessary.”
The newly appointed director general for mineral and coal, Thamrin Sihite, had previously reported that most of the permit overlaps were in Kalimantan.He pledged that the government would take all necessary measures to solve the problem.