Samarinda/Dairi, January 20, 2022–Two lawsuits over important information disputes over data and documents that have been hidden by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) in the mining sector were granted by the Judges’ Panel of Commissioners of the Public Information Commission (KIP) at two separate virtual hearings today. This decision confirms that the dark practices of the mining oligarchs in the process of obtaining and extending permits are over as it is against public rights law.

The first information dispute granted by KIP was a lawsuit registered by the East Kalimantan Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) on November 17, 2020. JATAM Kaltim (applicant) sued the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (respondent) for the closure of 5 companies holding Contracts for Coal Mining Enterprise Agreement (PKP2B) and 4 types of evaluation documents. All these lawsuits were granted. The Commissioner’s Panel of Judges also decided on the cancellation of the Decree of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources No. 002 of 2019 on the Classification of Information Excluded by the Mineral and Coal Sub-Sector which mentions the PKP2B Contract Document and The Contract of Work (KK) along with its changes as data and information that are excluded or state secrets. 

“This is a public victory, a victory for the people who have been affected by mine operations. This KIP ruling also shows that the move to hide data and information that has been often done by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is a legal wrong deed,” said Muhamad Jamil, Plaintiff’s Lawyer. 

The decision on the information dispute was delivered by three commissioner judges, namely the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners (MK) Hendra J Kede, consisting of Cecep Suryadi and Arif A Kuswardono accompanied by the Substitute Registrar (PP) Eni Fajar. The lawsuit with the respondent of the Ministry of Esdm itself is numbered 025 / REG PSI / XI / 2020. 

The objects of the lawsuit are: 

  1. Contract Of Work 5 Coal Mining Enterprise Agreement (PKP2B) on The Island of Kalimantan whose permit period and contract will expire from 2021 to 2025. The companies are PT Arutmin, PT Kaltim Prima Coal, PT Kideco Jaya Agung, PT Multi Harapan Utama, and PT Berau Coal. 
  2. Notes on the development of government discussions on the evaluation of permit and contract extensions.
  3. Recordings and/or minutes of government meetings on the process of evaluating permits applying for permit extensions and contracts.
  4. List of names, professions and positions, which parties and institutions are involved and invited in the evaluation of the extension in evaluating the PKP2B contract that is expiring.

“With this ruling, the extension of PT Arutmin’s permit, and the ongoing PT Kaltim Prima Coal, is not in accordance with regulations. Because the process is closed, does not involve the public, whereas during its operation, the two companies have caused a lot of harm to the environment and society. We urge the operations of the Arutmin and KPC mines to be stopped and evaluated,” said Pradarma Rupang, Dynamicator of JATAM Kaltim. 

The second information dispute lawsuit granted by KIP today was filed by Serli Siahaan, a resident of Dairi Regency, North Sumatra, to the ESDM ministry. The objects disputed are copies of the Latest Renegotiation Contract documents and Copies of The Contract Of Works Number 272.K/30/D/DJB/2018 and supporting documents belonging to PT. Dairi Prima Mineral ( PT DPM).

PT DPM owned by the Bakrie family, most of its shares (51%) have been sold to China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group (NFC), a Chinese state-owned metal mining company.

“This is a great victory for us, the people of Dairi. This ruling is encouraging for our struggle to defend our threatened territory and has been a victim of DPM mine operations,” said Serli who in this dispute lawsuit was assisted by the Joint Secretariat of  Tolak Tambang Dairi (Rejecting Dairi Mine), a Coalition consisting of Legal Aid and Advocacy of the People of North Sumatra (Bakumsu), JATAM Nasional, Yayasan Diakonia Pelangi Kasih, and Petrasa Foundation.

The struggle of Dairi residents against PT DPM has been going on for a long time since the signing of the work contract (KK) No.53 / Pres / 1/1998 dated February 17, 1998, was carried out. The resistance of the citizens was increasingly vociferous when PT DPM began exploration that caused flash floods, until it rose to the stage of production operations in 2018. 

The entire licensing process carried out by the government and the company is closed, whereas PT DPM’s mining concession which reached more than 24 thousand hectares, encapsing agricultural land and plantations, also entered residential areas and public facilities, such as churches, mosques, and schools. 

“All this time, the permission information has always been kept and kept secret. The request for company licensing documents that we made in 2018 was also rejected by ESDM. What is contained in the document concerns our lives and we need to know. It’s a good start and it gives additional encouragement and shows the community that public rights are higher than anything else including information rights related to people’s living spaces,” Serli added. 

PT DPM’s mining concession stretches from Dairi and Pakpak Bharat regencies in North Sumatra to Subulussalam City, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province, lies at the heart of one of the most seismically unstable regions of the Earth’s crust. It is about 150 miles east of the boundary between geological plates known as the Sunda subduction, which had triggered a major eruption of volcanoes including Toba and Krakatoa in 1883. The area was also affected during an earthquake in the Indian Ocean and tsunami in 2004 and is just a few miles from the Greater Sumatra fault, which is known for producing earthquakes that last for several minutes at a time and have destroyed infrastructure such as dams. In all, Bukit Barisan has 35 active volcanoes.

“The existence of PT DPM is a great risk to the safety of citizens, not only related to underground mines that use explosives, but also giant tailings waste dams to accommodate mine waste are above the unstable ground and Sumatra earthquake faults.  All of that has the potential to destroy agricultural land and plantations, and will also submerge villages downstream,” Jamil said. 

Thus, the legal ruling on information disputes in KIP by Dairi residents should be a reference for the government to stop operations and immediately evaluate PT DPM, including permanently halting the entire AMDAL addendum process at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. (*)


Editorial notes:



Media contacts:

Muhammad Jamil, JATAM Nasional Attorney, +62 821-5647-0477

Serli Siahaan, Information Dispute Plaintiff from Dairi, +62 822-9902-2250

Pradarma Rupang, JATAM East Kalimantan, +62 852-5050-9899


Photo for editorial purpose can be found here