The simultaneous regional elections in 270 regions today, including the province of Central Sulawesi, are not an essential momentum for the availability of guarantees for resolving several complex problems in the community around the mine area.

Central Sulawesi province, for example, has long been subject to mining permits; almost all of them are scattered in all districts/cities. Most of the mining permits issued by the regional government, especially when the Mineral and coal Law No. 4 of 2009 came into effect – now being changed to Law No. 3 of 2020 – harmed the community and the environment.

This condition, exacerbated by the ratification of the Mineral and Coal Law No. 3 of 2020 and the Job Creation Law No. 11 of 2020, two legal products that are instead created to solve problems that already exist in society, actually make it easier for business people to expand and secure their business in the regions. Furthermore, the two laws discussed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and opposed by millions of people amputate several regional strategic powers related to the authority to issue and revoke mining permits.

Thus, the people’s hope for the 2020 Regional Elections can produce a regional head that can answer the community’s demands, far from being burned. Instead, the 2020 regional elections appear only to elect candidates for operators of the Job Creation law in the regions, all of which lead to the availability of guarantees in perpetuating business people’s business.

Portrait of the Crisis


In Central Sulawesi, the total mining licenses (IUPs) have reached 135 IUPs; as many as 28 are in the exploration phase, and 107 others are already in the production operation stage. Nickel mining is spread across three districts, including Morowali Regency (37 IUP), North Morowali Regency (21 IUP), and Banggai Regency (20 IUP). Apart from the three regencies, In Tojo Una-Una Regency, there are also two mining permits.

The total mining concession of all licenses in Central Sulawesi reaches 214. 076.33 ha. Among many mining permits, as many as 15 mining companies are active in forest areas, covering an area of ​​16,000 hectares. here are the names of the companies

  • Bintang Delapan Mineral in Morowali Regency with an area of ​​1,206 Ha which ends in 2023
  • Bintang Delapan Mineral Block in Morowali Regency with an area of ​​127 Ha which ends in 2025
  • Sulawesi Resources, Morowali Regency with an area of ​​661 Ha, which will end in 2025
  • Hengjaya Mineralindo, Morowali Regency with an area of ​​851 hectares which will end in 2031
  • Mulia Pacific Resources North Morowali Regency 659 Ha, which ends in 2024
  • Bukit Makmur Istindo Nikeltama, Morowali Regency with an area of ​​995 Ha which will end in 2030
  • Itamatra Nusantara, North Morowali Regency with an area of ​​455 Ha which ends in 2022
  • Bintang Delapan Mineral (Blok VIII) Morowali Regency with an area of ​​745, which will expire in 2025
  • Bumi Morowali Utama, Morowali Regency with an area of ​​993 hectares, will end in 2026
  • Keinz Ventura, North Morowali Regency with an area of ​​355 Ha, will end in 2022
  • Hengjaya Mineralindo, Morowali Regency, with an area of ​​994 hectares, will end in 2031
  • Bintang Delapan Mineral (Blok IV) Morowali Regency with an area of ​​296 Ha will end in 2025
  • Indoberkah Jaya Mandiri Morowali Regency with an area of ​​185 Ha, ending in 2034
  • Mahligai Artha Sejahtera, Morowali Regency with an area of ​​119 Ha, ending in 2022
  • Bintang Sinar Perkasa, Morowali Regency with an area of ​​38 Ha, ending in 2036.

Mining in the Disaster Area

Based on data held by JATAM Central Sulawesi, there are 39 production operation Mining Licenses (IUPs) for sand, stone, and gravel mining permits in Palu City issued by the Regional Government. In addition, a Contract of Work issued by the Central Government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources for PT Citra Palu Mineral (PT CPM), a subsidiary of Bumi Resources, with gold commodities in East Palu District before being split into Mantikulore District in 2012, is suspected of being in disaster-prone areas as described by the Palu City Spatial Planning Regional Regulation.

The following are some of the findings of Central Sulawesi regarding the issuance of mining permits that will cause potential disasters;

  1. The issuance of 39 Mining Business Permits for sand, stone, and gravel mining activities, which the local government issued, were all in West Palu District before being split into Ulujadi District. In the Palu City RTRW Perda, Number 16 concerning the 2010-2030 Palu City Spatial Plan, Ulujadi District itself, before separating from West Palu District, was designated an area prone to landslides.
  2. The threat of natural disasters also lurks the people of Mantikolere Subdistrict, who previously joined the East Palu District before forming its sub-district in 2012. In particular, Poboya Village after the issuance of PT Citra Palu Mineral Production Operation Mining Licenses (IUP) Increase by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia with Number 422.K / 30. DJB / 2017. The issuance of IUP OP for PT Citra Palu Mineral is also suspected of contradicting the Palu City Regional Spatial Planning (RTRW) in local regulations (Perda). It states that Mantikulore District is also a landslide-prone area.
  3. Tailings Disposal Plan

Planned tailings disposal into the deep sea threatens Morowali waters included in the coral triangle, namely the marine area in the western Pacific Ocean, including Indonesia, which contains very high species diversity (nearly 600 species of coral reefs) and supports the surrounding marine biota.

There are at least 3 thousand hectares of coral reefs under the Morowali Sea, especially ± 710 hectares in the Bahodopi District. In 2018, Morowali became the highest capture marine fishery producer in Central Sulawesi with 34.12 kilotons or the equivalent of Rp. 678.9 billion.

This rich ecosystem is a habitat for much marine life, including fish caught by fishermen. The location of the submarine piped water plan for the placement of tailings in Fatufia Village, Bahodopi District, Morowali Regency, which PT Hua Pioneer Indonesia planned, is not regulated in the Central Sulawesi Regional Regulation concerning the Zoning Plan for Coastal Areas and Small Islands (RZWPK3) 10/2017, as stipulated in Article 31 paragraph (3).

Portraits of the threat of an ecological crisis that will occur in Central Sulawesi, which will result from mining exploitation, do not appear in campaign messages. The democratic procedure in the Pilkada of Central Sulawesi was still cut off from the people’s hope of being free from the threat of crisis, which would only bridge the interests of a handful of people. Not only that, but we should also suspect that the winner of this year’s election is only the operator of the newly passed Job Creation Law. This indication is strengthened by the supporting parties and supporters who took part in the discussion process of the Job Creation Law to the endorsement, who also supported the forward candidates in the 2020 Regional Elections contest in Central Sulawesi.

Track Record of Candidate Pairs and Campaign Team

Then what about the candidates who competed in the election for Governor Candidates and Candidates for Deputy Governor of Central Sulawesi? The two pairs of candidates who have contestation seem to rely on mining as one of the sectors to pursue regional income. Paslon Hidayat Lamakarate – Bartomoleus Tandigala, for example, promised to facilitate mining permits for the community. Meanwhile, Candidate Pair Rusdy Mastura – Ma ‘mun Amir considers that the management of gold mining is one of the strategies to improve the people’s economy.

The two candidate pairs quickly and carefree want to continue to exploit natural resources without thinking about the destructive power that has occurred and is happening, especially since Central Sulawesi is a disaster-prone area. Furthermore, encouraging the exploitation of the natural resources of the two contestants above, risking the sustainability of other livelihood sectors, which are community production spaces, such as agricultural lands and water sources, and the sea as fishing areas for fishers.

Then, what about the two contestants’ Campaign Team?

As seen in the list of campaign team names for the two candidate pairs, some are connected directly and indirectly with the mining business.

Hidayat Lamakarate – Bartomoleus Tandigala, for example, has the name Longki Djanggola. Longki, who is currently the Governor of Central Sulawesi, is the Gerindra Party Regional Representative Council (DPD). In the structure of the campaign team for Paslon Hidayat Lamakarate – Bartomoleus Tandigala, Longki becomes the advisor and campaigner for the province. Longki is suspected of issuing a Production Operation mining permit for PT. Trio Kencana in August 2020.

Meanwhile, the pair Rusdy Mastura – Ma’mun Amir, has the name Ahmad Ali as Chairman of the Advisory Board and member of the campaigner. Ahmad Ali, the Deputy Chairman of the NasDem Party and known as a businessman in Central Sulawesi, is noted to have led PT. Graha Mining Utama. PT. Graha Agro Utama, PT. Graha Istika Utama, and PT. PT. Tadulako Dirgantara Travel.

According to Tempo Magazine, Graha Istika Utama is a mining company that processes limestone and operates in Tudua Village, Morowali. However, it is still polemic because it is suspected of destroying water sources and cultural heritage in the area.

Ahmad Ali is also suspected of being a Director of PT. Oti Eya Jaya Abadi Nickel mining company in the village of catfish, Dampala, and Siumbatu. This company is suspected of being one of the suppliers of nickel ore to PT. IMIP.

Seeing the real threat of an ecological crisis, and potentially even more unstoppable after the Minerba Law and the Job Creation Law were passed, along with the relationship between local and national elites with extractive industry businesses, electoral parties such as the Pilkada, which took place today do not seem to answer all people’s problems.

The people of Central Sulawesi are used as a source of votes for the contestation of electoral elections. However, In the beginning, this democracy is being controlled by the oligarchy.