The Anti-Mafia Mining Coalition is calling for President Joko Widodo, ‘Jokowi’, to continue fighting for a five year moratorium on new destructive activity in Indonesian forests.

Earlier this year, Jokowi promised no new licenses would be issued to mining companies for new operations or for the expansion of existing operations. It is hoped the move will improve governance in the sector, which is currently plagued with issues including the overlapping of permits with conservation areas, unsatisfactory environmental management and safety problems.

Data from the coordination and supervision of mineral and coal program (Korsup Minerba) show that there are1.37 million hectares of mining licenses that overlap with conservation forests. Law no. 41/1999 on Forestry prohibits any mining activity in these areas. There is 4.93 million hectares of mining licenses that overlap with protected forests. Only underground mining activities are permitted in protected forests according to the same law.

Now is the right time for the mining moratorium. Thousands of mines around the country are already closing due to falling commodity prices. Data from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry shows that 3960 mining licenses carry a non-clean and clear status. These operations contribute to oversupply and thus a reduction in commodity prices. For this reason, the Indonesian Coal Mining Association has given reserved support for the moratorium.

The moratorium will also extend to the palm oil industry, based on the belief that there are enough exiting plantations and production capacity can be increased by utilizing better technology and better management.

This move is strongly endorsed by PWYP internationally as, if implemented effectively and given a strong legal foundation, it will encourage better governance and transparency. It will also save thousands of hectares of forests, ensuring the preservation of Indonesia’s famous biodiversity and safeguard a healthy living environment.