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The Conference Continues in Manado, As Well As Coral Devastation

Amid World Coral Reef Conference-WCRC in Manado since May, 14 2014, protest and act against mining activities in their water area by the society and environmental activist on Bangka Island, East Likupang Sub-district, North Minahasa Regency , North Sulawesi increasingly.

On Bangka Island’s water areas which is only 35 km away from the headquarters of the Coral Triangle Initiative-CTI, the location of WCRC, coral reef stockpiling for mining activities access of PT Mikgro Metal Perdana (PT. MMP) which has started since 2010 still occurs. Save Bangka Island as the movement against mining activities started since 2011. The movement already collecting 19.168 signatures in a petition on so that the Governor of North Sulawesi and the Regent of North Minahasa rejects mining on Bangka island.

Now, when WCRC being held in Manado, Gidion Yuris Triawan, activist of Save Bangka Island who claims as initiators of that movement firmly rejects the election of Indonesia hosted in WCRC, unless the mining on Bangka Island immediately cancelled.

The WCRC is an International Conference which invited the representatives of Governments, non-governmental organizations, academics, and journalists from various countries to discuss the rescue efforts of the coral reefs in the Coral Triangle. The day before the opening of the event, on Tuesday (13/5) representatives of six Coral Triangle countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste signed the framework and action plan of Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System /CTMPAS.

Mining for Welfare

After meeting with the SKPD on Tuesday (13/5) related WCRC at Sam Ratulangi airport, Governor of North Sulawesi, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, declaring that the coastal society public welfare is the ultimate goal for the WCRC. When asked by the reporters about the mining activities that damage the ecosystems in the Bangka Island water area, Sinyo said that it has appropriate procedures.

“Don’t dispute mining there, The AMDAL (Environment Impact Assessment) license was issued in a strict manner,” he said. Then two days later (15/5), on the sidelines of the WCRC, again Sinyo said that Rp 17 trillion investment in iron sand by PT. MMP on Bangka island will be beneficial to the local society. Same with that, President Director of PT. MMP Yang Yongjian said that they will not troble people in Likupang. In fact, about 200 homes affected by the exemption will be replaced between Rp 100 million to 200 million according to the value of the home. “We will move the residents, not far from the steel mill which the feedstocks from iron sand,” he said.

However, the mining activities on Bangka Island still consider to be illegal and contrary to Act No. 27/2007 on the management of coastal regions and small islands then there are changes through ACT 1 year 2014, it including a ban on mining on the island with an area around 2,000 square kilometers. Bangka Island, which became a buffer area of the National Park of Bunaken Sea, the wide only 419 sq. km.

Besides, citizens of Bangka island has been won by the High Court of the Supreme Court, through Decision No. 291K/TUN/2013 which rejected the cassations of North Minahasa Regent and PT. MMP about the extension and expansion of the power of mining as well as the adjustment of business license (IUP) of Bangka island water area exploration.

Tunas Hijau NGO activist who also the opposition of Save Bangka Island movement, Maria Taramen said, “Bangka people reject mining, they do not want their ancestral heritage destroyed by mining. They do not want to be moved to another location.” Azhari Fauzi & Ratih Ramayanti.

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