Mining activities in East Kalimantan did not have a significant economic impact on the local community. Even though throughout 2018, there were 3,025 IUP (Coal Mining Business Permits) that the government had issued. All of these permits have co-opted around 70% of the total land area of ​​East Kalimantan, where 34.3% of land in East Kalimantan has become a mining area. Of all the government’s permits, at least 710 IUPs are still problematic or have non-CnC (Clear and Clear) status. Non-CnC permits are permits that have administrative problems or overlap with protected forest areas and do not fulfill financial and environmental obligations, namely reclamation and post-mining. The existence of coal mining in East Kalimantan harms the community because conflicts often occur and disrupt community economic activities.

One of the problems in East Kalimantan after the opening of the mining area was conflict. After the existence of coal mining, conflicts often arise between mining companies and communities, communities and communities, and communities and wildlife. The occurrence of conflicts between mining companies and the community was caused by mining companies disrupting economic activities where previously, the people in the mining area were farmers. Former farmers’ communities felt disadvantaged because their rice field irrigation system was disrupted. Communities whose settlements are in mining areas are also directly affected by mining activities, such as increasing air temperature because the area that was previously a forest is now an open-pit excavation site, the cracks of some residents’ houses due to the impact of blasting inside the mining area, and reduced sources of livelihood for residents due to impact of the exploitation of mining companies.

Mining areas not only result in material and environmental losses but also fatalities. During 2011 – 2018, at least 29 victims were recorded as having died in the mining area. Sadly 28 of them are children. The mining area’s proximity to the residents’ village and the absence of a guardrail between the two make residents around the mining area freely in and out of the coal mining area. Moreover, children with their innocence are interested in seeing heavy equipment closer to entering the mining area, which can be fatal. Victims who died in mining areas usually drowned in dug lakes filled with water due to rain.

The massive mining activities in East Kalimantan are indeed a big question mark. How could it not be, the government has consistently issued lots of IUPs to mining companies which have not had a positive impact on the surrounding community and have damaged the environment. The real problem is the role of the government itself, in this case, the related agency that issues mining licenses and does not carry out its obligations, such as adequately overseeing mining activities which appears not to want to take responsibility after issuing the permits. In the city of Samarinda, at least 232 ex-mining pits have been left open without any post-mining rehabilitation and reclamation efforts. The company can only fulfill its obligation to rehabilitate ex-mining pits with sanctions or follow-up by revoking the IUP to the company because it violates the applicable laws and regulations. And once again, a fundamental question is where is the role of the government?
The absence of the government is also evident from the participative aspect of the people of East Kalimantan in mining activities. The granting of a coal mining business license seems to be based only on the increase in local revenue from the tax sector from the mining activity. From the statement of the Director of Samarinda Working Group 30, Carolus Tuah, in Samarinda City in the discussion event “Samarinda Moves to Action for the Climate, Switching From Dirty Energy to Renewable Energy!” on Saturday, September 8, 2018. The absorption of workers from East Kalimantan is only 5%, the rest are from outside the region and foreign workers. This means that mining activities in East Kalimantan are not in favor of the people of East Kalimantan themselves. Even though the existence of coal mining has taken away the productive land there. The government that issues IUPs on productive land owned by residents should be able to wisely make a regulation governing the participation of local communities as workers in mining companies, the responsibility of the government as the institution that issues mining business permits.
There are also coal mining activities.

By: Yunus Hidayat