Evaluate, Revoke and Restore the Damage


[Berau, May 18th 2021] — Heavy rains that hit Berau Regency since May 12th caused the Kelay and Segah Rivers to overflow. As a result, the road to Bena Baru village was cut off and people’s houses were flooded. 

The overflow of the Kelay River seeps up to the embankment of the coal mine owned by PT Rantaupanjang Utama Bhakti (RUB). The embankment was broken on last Sunday, May 16 2021. The breakdown of PT RUB’s coal embankment exacerbated the existing damage, especially for residents of Bena Baru Village. 

This flood is the biggest in the last 20 years. Based on data from Berau Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), as many as 2,308 households were affected by the flood which occurred at the same time as the 1442 H Eid Al-Fitr Celebration.  

The Berau District Government called the overflowing of Kelai and Segah Rivers as annual floods that are often experienced by local communities. It seems that the government is hiding behind its ‘natural disaster’ that occured throughout the year narratives, in which they consider as normal, but ignores a number of important facts in relation to the ecological destruction, especially land use change of the upstream and watershed area into coal mining concessions.

Below are some facts from JATAM Kaltim’s findings:

  1. From the total of 94 coal mining concessions (93  mining licenses/IUP and 1 coal mining exploitation work agreement/ PKP2B) that were issued by the government in Berau Regency, there are 20 coal mining concessions located on the side of Segah and Kelai Rivers. From these 20 concessions, 7 are located in the upstream area of Kelai River. JATAM Kaltim suspects that mining practices in the upper reaches of the Kelai and Segah Rivers have been the culprit for the flooding that has occurred in Berau District for several years.
  2. From the total of 94 mining permits in Berau, there are 16 mining companies that have carried out mining activity. But the destruction is already very severe, which will obviously get worse if all mining companies in the area are operating.
  3. PT. Berau Coal is the only mine with PKP2B status in Berau Regency. The total of this company’s concession area is 118.400 hectares, stretches from the upstream area of Kelai River to Segah River. From satellite imagery, it appears that forest clearing and destruction have occurred from the mining activities of PT. Berau Coal that is located in the upstream of the two rivers.
  4. Throughout 2020 to 2021, there are 11 illegal mining locations operating in Berau Regency, all concentrated in 3 sub-districts, namely Tanjung Redeb, Teluk Bayur and Gunung Tabur sub-districts.
  5. Not only coal mining, the conversion of forest areas to large-scale oil palm plantations in the upstream area of ​​the river also caused the flash flood that occurred on Wednesday, May 12.
  6. The distance between Rantaupanjang Utama Bhakti (RUB)’s mining hole edge – company whose mine embankments were broken – with Kelai River is only ±400 meters. Therefore, PT RUB is suspected to have violated the Minister of Environment Regulation No. 04 of 2012 concerning Environmentally Friendly Indicators for Coal Mining Business and / or Activities which require a minimum distance limit of 500 meters. Not only PT RUB, most of the large mining concessions that were issued by the government have violated The Regional Regulation on Spatial Planning and the Region of East Kalimantan No.1 of 2016 which states that the minimum distance between a mine and a settlement is one kilometer.
  7. In the Structure of Shareholders and Management of PT. RUB contains the name Hanifah Husein who serves as the President Director. Hanifah Husein is the wife of Ferry Mursyidan Baldan, former Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Indonesia in the first term of President Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla. Ferry Mursyidan Baldan’s wife is also connected to 2 other mining companies, PT Syahid Berau Bestari and PT. Syahid Indah Utama.
  8. Until 2018, there are 123 coal mining holes in Berau Regency and the company with the largest number of mining holes is PT Berau Coal, with a total of 45 mining holes.
  9. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has issued 11 Borrowing and Use of Forest Areas Permits (IPPKH) to 7 coal mining companies in Berau District. The total IPPKH area is 10,490.6 hectares. PT. Berau Coal was the company that received the most and widest IPPKHs, namely 4 IPPKHs with an area of ​​5,844.27 hectares. Meanwhile, the second place is held by PT. Nusantara Berau Coal (NBC) with 2 IPPKHs with an area of ​​1935.18 hectares. PT.NBC is a company owned by Prabowo Subianto, Chairman of the Gerindra Party who also serves as Minister of Defense in Jokowi-Ma’ruf’s Indonesia Maju Cabinet.

Based on the facts above, JATAM Kaltim urges the government to:

  1. Immediately conduct a comprehensive environmental audit of all mining companies operating in Berau District.
  2. During the audit process, freeze all mining activities.
  3. Take firm and open law enforcement measures against troubled mining companies, and
  4. Immediately restore all environmental damage that has been caused by coal mining activities in Berau Regency.

Contact:

Pradarma Rupang – JATAM Kaltim – 0852 5050 9899

Melky Nahar – JATAM – 081319789181

Attachment: Photo, Video, Map