Indonesia is one of the world’s countries with diverse natural, social and cultural wealth. All regions in Indonesia have their diversity and natural wealth. One of them is East Kalimantan. East Kalimantan is one of Indonesia’s provinces with cultural wealth in the form of the Dayak tribe. However, apart from cultural wealth, East Kalimantan also has various natural resources, such as oil palm, karst, and coal. This is what has made Kalimantan the largest coal supplier in Indonesia. In addition, Kalimantan has a vast forest natural wealth because most of the East Kalimantan area is forest. So Kalimantan is one of the areas known as the lungs of the world.

As we know, Kalimantan is one of the largest coal producers in the world. If sorted, Indonesia is fifth after China, the United States, India, and Australia. Indonesia’s coal resources reach 99.2 billion tons, with reserves of 13.3 billion tons spread across parts of Indonesia, such as Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua. It was recorded from 2012-2015 that the average coal production reached more than 400 million tons per year. Even though there are so many coal resources available, it has been predicted that their existence will run out in the next 29 years or, precisely, in the year 2046. (data source: PWYP Indonesia).

Natural wealth

We can see the wealth of coal in East Kalimantan from the number and extent of areas that are used as mining areas. Of the total area of ​​East Kalimantan, 34.4% is used for coal mining and has 1488 IUP (Mining Licence). It does not include oil palm plantations, karst, and other natural resources. One area that has the most prominent mining area is Samarinda. 71% of the total area of ​​Samarinda is a coal mining area. It is because all areas in East Kalimantan, especially Samarinda, have the potential to have coal wealth. So that every year the mining area in Samarinda is expanding. And this is inseparable from the legacy of fermentation, which gives the broadest possible blood autonomy (Daud, Basyir. et al. 2017: 5)

Samarinda, the capital city of East Kalimantan, is one of the areas with high coal wealth. Samarinda’s coal wealth can be seen from the number and breadth of coal mines spread across various regions in Samarinda. The coal mining area in Samarinda reaches 71% of the area of ​​Samarinda itself. Samarinda is the province of East Kalimantan, the largest coal supplier in Indonesia. Of the national production from Kalimantan land, there were 393.7 million tons in 2011-2013 (Daud, Basir.2017: 23).

However, many IUPs and mining lands in East Kalimantan differ from the lives of East Kalimantan residents. We can see some pictures of the life of the Buana Jaya and Mulawarman villagers. The villages of Buana Jaya and Mulawarman are known for their coal mining areas and are areas the author has visited.

Culture of Buying and Selling Land

Buana Jaya Village is where most people work as farmers, and most migrants come from outside the East Kalimantan region. There were differences in geographical conditions and statistics for the people of Buana Jaya village during the establishment of a coal mining company. This condition also occurred in the town of Mulawarman, which caused the statistical changes for the people of Mulawarman village to drop drastically.

This condition occurs not without reason. This condition stems from the emergence of the community’s habit of buying and selling land from residents to mining parties. This sale and purchase of land have been going on since the founding of the mining company. Because residents formerly owned the land that was used as a mining area. So that the mining party must first buy the residents’ land, which residents then refer to as “Land Acquisition.” , But with the depletion of coal in the area. This causes the company to be forced to expand its mining area. So little by little, people’s houses are replaced by mining land.

This habit has continued until now. This is because various agreements were made between residents and the company in the land acquisition process. From the start of higher land prices to the company’s promise of social welfare for residents. The land in the village is like a market because in that area, there is a bargaining process between sellers (Residents) and buyers (Companies). It is not uncommon for many residents to defend their land until the selling price is high (until the company is forced to buy it). Because the average price of land in the mining area is Rp. 1 billion / hectare. Not infrequently, many residents choose to sell their land and look for a new house at a lower price than the land and houses sold to the company.

However, not all land can be directly sold and purchased by companies. First, the company will drill into the residents’ area to determine whether the land contains coal. The cost for 1 drill is IDR 500,000. After the company knows there is coal content, there is a bargaining process with residents or land acquisition.

Due to the expansion of the mining area and the process of bidding for land at high prices, it has become a habit for the people around the mining area to sell land. Plus, the promise of providing welfare to the surrounding community in the form of providing staples such as (tea, sugar, instant noodles, and so on). This is what causes residents to be tempted to sell their land so the company can expand the mining area. So it is common for us to hear about many villages that have almost disappeared as a result of the expansion of the mining area. Some of them are the villages of Buana Jaya and Mulawarman.

However, this condition is different for the people who depend on the agricultural and plantation sectors and residents whose homes are in the middle of the village. This causes problems and conflicts between the company, government, and residents. Starting from environmental pollution due to mining waste, reduced and even loss of sources of livelihood, and mining dust which caused the agriculture and plantations of residents to wither and die to the cracking and destruction of residents’ houses due to coal blasting bombs used by mining parties in destroying the land to the large number of people who died in used pits mine excavation. As recorded in JATAM and PWYP data, the number of people who died due to ex-mine pits. This is exacerbated by the distance of the mining area, which is no less than 100 meters from residential areas. Even though the Minister of Environment Regulation Number 4 of 2012 states that the minimum distance between mining and residential areas is 500 m.

Marginalization of Livelihoods

With the many problems that occur with the expansion of the mining area. Residents who live and own land on the outskirts of the village and are located close to the mining area may benefit from the sale of land. This causes people who do not sell their land and prefer to live to be marginalized from their daily livelihoods. Starting from the agricultural and plantation sectors were disrupted due to pollution and the loss of springs. As happened in the village of Buana Jaya. The only river used by residents as a water source to irrigate agriculture and plantations must be polluted with coal waste. In addition, the company cut off the flow because the land through which the river flows has become a company. In addition, the well used by residents to irrigate agricultural land and plantations during the dry season no longer emits water. According to residents, this happened because a coal mining company was established. This is a threat to the fulfillment of their needs in the future. Apart from that, polluted air, noise, and threats to destroy buildings due to bombs used by mines are the things that cause people to be marginalized from their environment.

This condition forces survivors to become increasingly alienated and marginalized from their environment. Because more and more residents are selling land on the outskirts of the village, the mining land is getting closer to residential areas. This causes the impacts of the mine to be felt by residents who survive. This is why people are marginalized due to domination pressure from the mining sector on their livelihoods. Day by day, the domination of mining companies over the environment and livelihood is getting bigger, and the local people are becoming a minority. The dominance of mining companies is getting bigger every day. Starting from the environment and government to law.

Apart from occurring in the village of Buana Jaya, this condition also occurred in Mulawarman, Tenggarong, opposite Kutai Kartanegara. As stated by the head of Mulawarman village, the villagers have demanded the government carry out. Because the environmental conditions due to coal mining are no longer fit for habitation by the community. The pressure and domination caused by mining cause residents to prefer to give in and move from their homes.

Even the government opened Mulawarman village in 1991 for migrants. Mulawarman village has an area of ​​2000 hectares divided into 500 hectares of mining land and 1500 hectares of rice fields and fields. However, currently, only 87 hectares of paddy fields and fields remain. Only about 4% remains from the initial area of ​​Mulawarman village. (National JATAM). Padalah, according to Nebo, a member of JATAM East Kalimantan, initially, the village of Mulawarman was the most prominent food supplier for the Samarinda and East Kalimantan regions. But now, the residents of Mulawarman village need rice from other regions and the government.

In addition to the pessimism of residents after the mine was closed or the contract expired in the form of the many holes left behind, it became a threat to community life in the future. As reported by CNN (21/11/2016), until 2016, mining pits in East Kalimantan have killed as many as 26 people. the number of mining pits. Although in the regulation of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources No. 29 of 2018, article 22 explains various types of company obligations to reclaim ex-mining pits.

This adds to the dominance of the mining companies. Besides threatening their daily livelihood, mining also threatens their future livelihoods and their generation. Because of the 26 victims who died, there was only 1 adult, and the rest were minors.

This adds to the alienation experienced by residents. Starting from the environment and livelihood to alienation from their future. After the presence of many coal mines in their area.

Protests and resistance by residents against the company, the village head, the provincial government to the central government advocated by JATAM (Advocacy Network for Addition), POGJA 30, and other NGOs regarding these issues have not been resolved until now and have not been able to find a resolution channel. These conditions caused the residents to surrender and were forced to sell and move from their homes.

This happens in almost all mining areas in East Kalimantan. Various local and national resistance occurred in response to these problems, so residents were forced to take to the streets.

If this continues, it is not impossible for nature, the people, and the culture of East Kalimantan will disappear, and only history will remain. Because almost the entire area of ​​East Kalimantan has the potential to become a mining area. 71% of Samarinda’s area is currently a coal mining concession area.

By: Iqbal Alma Ghosan Altofani