Balikpapan. East Kalimantan Governor Awang Farouk Ishak has asked the central government to limit the production of coal from the province to help reduce the environmental damage from exploitation of the commodity by miners.
According to data from the East Kalimantan government, coal production volume has doubled in two years. In 2009, coal production stood at 110 million metric tons, rose to 140.8 million tons in 2010 before hitting 220 million tons in 2011.
Farouk called on the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry to limit coal production volume in the province. He proposed coal production be limited to 150 million tons a year.
He said large-scale extraction processes by miners were not matched by environmental rehabilitation, leading East Kalimantan to have more than 110 giant holes that need a total of 2.6 billion cubic meters of land to plug them.
“Of the 1,419 registered miners, most of them do not have proper environmental rehabilitation programs, and fewer than 20 percent are committed to maintaining the environment,” Farouk said. “They don’t offer assurance for reclamation work on their old mines.”
The governor said East Kalimantan had total coal deposits of 8.3 billion tons. However, if the miners rush to exploit the deposits, he said, the benefits for the local community will be short lived.
Farouk also called for a joint regulation from the central government and the local government that would prohibit miners from opening a new pit if they had not dealt with the impact of their existing pits.
He also proposed an increase in the compulsory environmental rehabilitation fees paid by miners.
East Kalimantan is home to some of Indonesia’s biggest miners, including Bayan Resources, owned by tycoon Dato Low Tuck Kwong, which has seven mines in the province. There is also Tanito Harum Energy, owned by Kiki Barki, which has a massive coal output from the mines it controls in the province.