A mine belonging to PT DPM is located in the most seismically dangerous mountain range on Earth. Shut down the mine as well as the development of its tailing dam.

[Jakarta, May 27, 2021] On this day (Thursday, 27/5), the Directorate for the Prevention of Environmental Impact from Business and Activities of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry reconvened with the Central Environmental Impact Analysis Assessment Committee, in order to assess the addendum to the environmental impact analysis, and the Type A environmental management and monitoring plans, for PT Dairi Prima Mineral’s (PT DPM) mining plans. This meeting clearly shows the Ministry’s intention to pave the way for PT DPM to mine in Dairi.

In the midst of public opposition to the presence of PT DPM’s mine in Dairi Regency, North Sumatra—a critical area for farming, sources of water, and forested areas, all of which support and provide living space for residents—the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, which should become the region’s defender, has, conversely, provided the means for its destruction. Signs that the Ministry is insisting on providing access for PT DPM can be seen from the continued deliberations on the addendum (revision) to PT DPM’s environmental impact analysis and environmental management and monitoring plans, in order for the company to damage, uproot, and destroy the region and the environment.

The Environmental Impact Analysis is a necessary document for the issuance of a decree on environmental feasibility (SKKLH) as well as an environmental permit. Based on the conditions in Law No. 32 of 2009 and Governmental Regulation No. 27 of 2012, without an Environmental Impact Analysis, a decree on environmental feasibility, and an environmental permit, an activity that has significant impact on the environment (such as mining) cannot be carried out and will not receive a business permit.

Within the addendum, PT DPM proposes 3 changes to its environmental permit, namely a change to the location of its explosives warehouse; a change to the location of its Tailing Storage Facility (TSF); and an additional mine mouth location (portal). The changes to the explosives warehouse and tailing storage facility are the most worrying.

Through this addendum, PT DPM plans to move its Tailing Storage Facility (tailing dam) from its original location within a protected forest 500 meters from a processing factory, to Bondar Begu, Sopokomil Hamlet, 2 kilometers from the original location, with the land status assigned for other use, dry agriculture, and shrubbery.

Two international experts have reviewed the addendum to the Environmental Impact Analysis of PT DPM, and stated that the plans for the tailing storage facility are far below international standards as well as standards set by Indonesian law. After reviewing the document, in his analysis, Dr. Steve Emerman, an expert on hydrology and environment for mining, stated that the tailing storage facility has not been planned for the possibility of floods or high rainfall. He also found that, if the mine was located in China, it would be illegal, because the Chinese government currently bans tailing dams to be built so close to residential areas.

On the topic of earthquakes and tailing storage facilities, Dr. Richard Meehan, also an international expert, stated that it is normal practice for mining companies to review their plans and be certified by a reputable international civil engineering company. This data must then be made available for the public, in order for other people to be able to review and check the security and safety of the planned tailing storage facility.

Dr. Richard Meehan stated that the previous location of the planned tailing storage facility had been reviewed by an American engineering company, Golder Associates. The Environmental Impact Analysis addendum proposes a new site that has not been reviewed by Golder Associates, because the review conducted by Golder Associates in 2010 differs from the location proposed by PT DPM in its addendum. This indicates that PT DPM is trying to use its previous Golder Associates report to illicitly support the site of its proposed new tailing storage facility.

Meehan adds that the available data also shows that the proposed tailing storage facility will be located on an unstable volcanic sediment. This is extremely dangerous. A failure for the tailing facility is virtually guaranteed—especially since the proposed facility will be located in one of the most high-risk, earthquake-prone zones on Earth that is shaped by three fault lines, namely Renun Fault, Toba Fault, and Bahorok Fault. The tailing facility’s defences will shatter, and its toxic contents will seep into the groundwater, or the dam itself will collapse, leading to a toxic flood. One scenario is that the Sopokomil Hamlet will be carried away by a wave of toxic mud. This can occur without warning.

In addition, PT DPM’s addendum does not include a disaster risk analysis, even though the PT DPM mine is locate in an earthquake- and flood-prone region. This is contradicts Law No. 24 of 2007 on Disaster Mitigation, Article 75, paragraph (1), in which:

“Every person who due to their negligence conducts high-risk development, that does not include a disaster risk analysis as referred to in Article 40 paragraph (3), and that becomes the cause of a disaster, will be convicted with a minimum prison sentence of 3 (three) years or a maximum of 6 (six) years, and a minimum fine of Rp300.000.000,00 (three hundred million rupiah) or a maximum fine of Rp2.000.000.000,00 (two billion rupiah).”

Fulfillment of the disaster risk analysis as referred to in paragraph (1) is to be shown in a document legalized by a government official in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations.

Furthermore, in the addendum to the environmental impact analysis and Type A environmental management and monitoring plans, PT DPM will construct an explosives warehouse 293 meters away from residential buildings, in accordance with the decree of the Director-General of Mineral and Coal No. 309.K/30/DJB/2018, which states that the safe distance permitted for the explosives warehouse belonging to PT Dairi Prima Mineral is 293 meters away from any residential building, hospital, or other buildings/offices, 244 meters away from any fuel storage tanks, workshops, and main roads, and 87 meters away from railways and small public roads.

However, in reality, before this document had been approved, PT DPM had already completed construction of its explosives warehouse outside the Forest Leasehold Permit area (IPPKH) and only 50 meters away from residential areas in Sipat Hamlet, Longkotan Village. What PT DPM has done is a serious environmental crime and is a strong reason to revoke its permit as well as cease deliberations on its environmental impact analysis addendum.

The majority of residents in Dairi Regency work as peasants whose lives depend on water, land, rivers, and forests. We are concerned with the lack of water for farmland, due to land contamination from mining-related acidic drainage.

The mining that will be carried out by PT DPM will become a primary contributor to large-scale ecological destruction. Residential water sources will become contaminated, of which one source is located close to the mining location, as written in the research report on the provision of water near mining and downstream areas conducted by AMAN Tano Batak, YDPK, and local residents. This report, related to concerns on the stability of the tailing facility, shows that the mine can potentially impact more than 10 nearby villages; however, the addendum to the environmental impact analysis only calculates the impact to 5 villages.

PT DPM does not share the same vision as the residents of Dairi, especially when we see the potential for destruction and disaster that will occur when PT DPM becomes operational. The mine will never bring prosperity for the public, but will only provide wealth for the corporation. If the Ministry of Environment and Forestry allows PT DPM to mine in Dairi, it will be equivalent to actively destroying a site of production and putting the lives of thousands of people on the line.

Coalition of Dairi Residents

Contact persons:

Robin Sitorus (081211093300)

Elfrida (085217014259)

Ben Lewi Situmorang (085772764752)

Bagus (085781985822)