The mineral and coal mining sector still supports the Indonesian economy. However, this sector still needs better governance improvements now and in the future. In addition to ensuring a conducive business climate, governance also needs to ensure that mining businesses take place with good mining practices. One of the efforts is to improve mechanisms throughout the mining production chain, from pre-approval and operations to post-mining, to form an optimal system of checks and balances between the public, companies, and the government.

Departing from this background, the Research Center for Politics and Government (PolGov), together with Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia, with the support of the Global Partnership Social Accountability (GPSA) – the World Bank, held a social accountability training with four topics: publicness, regulatory framework, institutionalization, and sustainability online on 18-19 August 2021.

This training aims to increase the capacity of participants to understand the licensing problems in their regions’ mineral and coal sectors. This training encourages participants to network and cooperate with various related parties to find solutions to issues related to licensing in their areas.

The training participants were representatives from three mineral and coal resource-rich regions that are the focus of this project, namely Aceh, East Kalimantan, and Southeast Sulawesi. Participants who attended represented various stakeholders, such as the Aceh Information Commission, representatives of the private mining sector, OMBUDSMAN RI representatives of East Kalimantan, OMBUDSMAN RI representatives of Southeast Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi Provincial Environment Office (DLH), Prakarsa Borneo, representatives of Sungai Payang Residents of East Kalimantan, representatives of the Alue Baloe Community, representatives of Krueng Mangkom Residents, and others.

During the training, participants discussed several vital questions. The training session on publicness focused on strengthening public-oriented licensing processes and outputs. The key questions addressed were: how can the public be involved and benefit from the licensing process?

How can the public rebuild its power as an essential role owner in the mining licensing process? While the topic of the legal framework focuses on aspects of mining licensing regulations and legal space for the public, with critical questions: how do mining licensing regulations open space and protect public rights from the impact of the mining licensing process? The topic of institutionalization focuses on institutional mechanisms for public involvement in mining licensing practices, with crucial questions: How to build institutions that reinforce the role of the public in the licensing phase?

The last topic is sustainability, focused on the environmental, social, and economic sustainability aspects of mining licensing practice. With the critical question: how do stakeholders anticipate and handle potential ecological problems from mining practices amidst changes in authority and technical frameworks related to environmental impact assessments?

On the first day, Emanuel Bria, Sustainable Minerals Insitute (SMI) Researcher at the University of Queensland and World Bank Consultant, Sony Heru Prasetyo, representative of the Directorate General of Mineral and Coal, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, and Nusyamsi Gemawati, representative of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) were present as discussion starters.

Regarding publicness, representatives from the Regional Development Planning Agency (Bappeda) of Nagan Raya argued that the government needs to provide more space for the community to oversee mining licenses. In addition to the absence of recommendations requested from the community by the government and the increasingly limited role of local governments in managing mining licenses.

Representatives from Sungai Payang Village, Kutai Kertanegara, and East Kalimantan, were very active in expressing their opinions regarding publicness in East Kalimantan. Like Aceh, they argued that there still needs to be more community involvement in various mining licensing processes. On the other hand, Payang River residents benefit from getting jobs in the mining sector, but only as laborers or drivers. They also received CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs from mining companies in the form of road repairs and the provision of drinking water reservoirs.

Andi Hatta, Chairman of the Southeast Sulawesi Information Commission, said the trigger for riots in mining areas was the lack of community involvement.
The community expects information disclosure related to national and regional public data information. The people of Southeast Sulawesi have also recommended guidance and law enforcement if there is any misuse of mining issues in Southeast Sulawesi.

In response to the above, Emanuel Bria gave a reply. He responded that, in general, there are still limitations regarding the weak mechanism of supervision and evaluation of licensing, limited information related to social and environmental impacts due to mining activities, information regarding CSR, and local content in labor and profit sharing. Emanuel Bria also explained his simple thinking through the concept of ownership that the extent to which the community understands state ownership, then the community is given options for development other than in the mining sector, for example, agriculture or tourism. The state must consider profit sharing and the post-mining economy if the community agrees.

Sony Heru Prasetyo presented material related to the legal framework and new regulations from the government regarding licensing in the mineral and coal subsector. The code change resulted in a shift in authority from the center to the province regarding licensing. Changes in the law have the potential to open public participation from the existence of complaints channels and the supervision of mining inspectorates placed in the provinces to minimize errors in mining licensing.

The discussion about changes in licensing regulations received a positive response because it raised people’s hopes for getting their rights. However, Musnaji, a representative of Alue Buloeh’s residents, said mining companies still need to comply with the provisions. Mining pits and waste still flow into clean water streams, which is detrimental to the community. TM Zulfika, a representative of Aceh residents, also regretted the cessation of the mining moratorium because, according to him, it was necessary as a mining management strategy, especially in Aceh.

On the second day, Alamsyah Saragih, Member of the Indonesian Ombudsman for the 2016-2021 Period, Prof. Purwo Santoso, Professor of Gajah Mada University, Rezki Syahrir, representative of the Indonesian Mining Experts Association (PERHAPPI) were present as discussion starters. This session discussed the topic of institutionalization and sustainability of collective social accountability between the government and communities related to mining sector management.

Alamsyah Saragih mentions 3 (three) perspectives of rights in the concept of governance, namely:

  • The Right to Transparency: Citizens have the right to know, so the government is obliged to provide facilities and competent personnel who provide this, for example, the Information and Documentation Management Officer (PPID).
  • Right to Accountability: The right to claim or prosecute, such as people reporting to the Ombudsman to the courts, so that precise mechanisms and procedures are established.
  • Right to Participation: Right to be involved or involved in decision-making. Participation is the keyword involved in determining decisions. People are interested in decision-making rather than just participating in discussions.

These three rights can work if the state provides institutions or forums and competent officials to ensure the continuity of these three rights.

Prof. Purwo Santoso added that the key to accountability is how the licensing system is implemented. Because private companies as legal entities work with the logic of legitimate-unlawful, not true-untrue. Therefore, a license obtained from public officials is a good tool. Prof. Purwo Santoso suggested that the technocratic principle needs to be upgraded to a collaborative one where legitimacy is based on emancipation. The challenge is empowering citizens to deliberate to reduce the risk of complicated problems.

PWYP Indonesia National Coordinator. Aryanto Nugroho, in his closing remarks, conveyed the pattern of collaborative social accessibility. He said that the conditions for creating an excellent multi-stakeholder forum must be equal space, equal ability, and shared goals so that the multi-stakeholder platform can become a space for standard and more obvious meeting points between all parties.