In 12 Years, East Luwu Lost 101,313 Acres of Forest Due to Nickel Mining

Arfi Bambani
A nickel mining location that is so close with human settlement in East Luwu, South Sulawesi
A nickel mining location that is so close with human settlement in East Luwu, South Sulawesi - The Forum for the Environment (Walhi) stated that the forest in the Luwu Timur Regency (Lutim) Province, South Sulawesi, has been degraded or lost due to nickel mining activities within 12 years.

"Forest cover in East Luwu Regency continues to erode, at least 41 thousand hectares (101,313 acres) of forest cover have changed functions from 2009 to 2020. This loss of forest function is the starting point for an ecological disaster in East Luwu," said Executive Director of South Sulawesi Walhi, Muhammad Al Amen in Makassar, Monday, December 27, 2021.

Walhi takes this data based on Ministry of Environment and Forestry's (KLHK) National Forest Monitoring System, drawing a chart of changes in forest cover area in East Luwu Regency from 2009, 2014, and 2020. In detail, the 2009 data recorded that the forest cover area in the district is still 428 thousand hectares. Then in 2014, it was reduced to an area of 412 thousand hectares, until 2020, it continues to be eroded now only an area of 387 hectares.

If it is calculated for 12 years of nickel mining activities in East Luwu, 41 hectares of forest cover has been lost. The expansion of nickel mining and the destruction of people's living spaces continues. The practice of mining activities in Indonesia, especially in East Luwu, has always been close to human rights violations, he said.

In fact, in the early stages of determining the location of a mining business permit, decision-making on mining areas has never been carried out in a participatory manner together with indigenous peoples or local communities who have previously inhabited the area.

The dissemination and consultation carried out by mining companies, said Amin, was allegedly only limited to fulfilling the requirements to obtain permits from the government. The next process, a Mining Business Permit (IUP) is issued, but it has robbed the local community of land rights.

"As in the case of the land grabbing of the Karunsi'e indigenous people. The customary land managed by the community is claimed to belong to the company under the pretext of IUP. Of course, this triggers human rights violations, resulting in violent practices, intimidating the authorities against the indigenous people there," said Amin in a virtual meeting of the 2021 WALHI Year-End Notes in the Sulawesi region.

There are allegations of environmental pollution due to several nickel mining companies' operations in South Sulawesi. From Walhi's investigation, they found facts on the ground that waste disposal in the form of ex-mining sediment, sulfur, or hazardous substances in the ecosystem that is the source of people's livelihoods, is dumped in lakes, rivers to the coast and sea.

The impact of nickel mining activities for more than a decade, Amin explained, proves the poor governance of nickel mining in Indonesia, especially in East Luwu. The rate of deforestation and human rights violations also shows an increasing trend.

"This is clear evidence. For this reason, the government is asked to immediately stop the issuance of new IUPs in Sulawesi, and review the mining permits issued. The most important thing for the central and regional governments is to save and protect the forest landscape and people's lives on the island of Sulawesi," said Amin emphasized.

Tag # mining # nickel # south sulawesi # east luwu # investment

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