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Illegal Mining in Mount Lawu threatened local villagers

Karanganyar, Ekuatorial – Despite of protests from local villagers, illegal mining in Karanganyar district, Central Java were getting worse threatening not only their lives but also their homes, said a villager on Sunday (29/9).

Located in the slopes of Mount Lawu, illegal miners have been plainly dispatching heavy machineries to extract sands. These miners, comprise of eight to ten men per group, are able to produce 20 trucks of sands per day.

“One truck [of sands] is worth of Rp 550,000 (US$ 45). It has been going on for the past three months. We are too afraid to stop them, nevertheless to get closer [to the mines]. They said they have a very strong back-up [to the mining] but we don’t know what they meant. We are scared of what might happen to villagers so we just let them be,” said Sugeng, who goes by one name, a villager of Ngargoyoso, Karanganyar.

Furthermore, he said that he was actually worried about the impact of the mining towards his own village not far from the site. If rainy season arrived, he said, villagers feared for landslides from the mining sites.

Ambarwati, head of Ngargoyoso sub-district, said that they have tried to stop illegal mining operations by cooperating with local police.

Ambarwati said that the mining was categorized as illegal as there were no legal permits. “Of course, I completely reject [the mining]. I have told the owner to complete requirements to the provincial [government],” she said. “They only based their mining activities on a piece paper which basically a temporary permit to built a restaurant and fishing site, not for mining.”

Meanwhile, head of Karanganyar Public Works Agency Priharyanto, said that they regretted the [Ngargoyoso] sub-district administration which did not report the illegal mining to his agency. Priharyanto said that they would shut it down if found to have conducting illegal mining activities.

Furthermore, he said that illegal miners were extensive in his area because it was the provincial government’s authority to close it down. Meanwhile, he added that his was only in charge of reporting the case to the head of district which would deliver it to the Central Management of Regional River Flow. Bramantyo.

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