Bandarlampung, Ekuatorial – Local villager reported mining exploration causing damages on coastal ecosystem but met with cold respond from local authority in Sebesi island, Rajabasa sub-district, South Lampung province.
Sofyan Raden Kemala, one of the island’s public figure, said that they had complained about barge owned by PT Lautan Persada Indonesia suspected to haul iron ore from coastal area.
“There are iron ore in our island resulted from Anak Krakatau [child of Krakatau] Mountain eruption. It’s about six meter thick with a total of seven hectares. On November, the company had requested to install vibrating [detection] device but less than three months, they have already ventured the island with the barge,” said Kemala. “It is, for us, very disrupting because it [dredging] will automatically destroy coral reefs which we have been nurturing for the past three years.”
Furthermore, he said that they have already went to Bandarlampung Legal Aid Foundation to file a complaint to South Lampung administration with notification to the police, mining agency, fisheries agency, natural resources conservation agency (BKSDA). But, to no avail.
Subakir, head of Lampung BKSDA, had denied the report. He said that it was not a barge to dredge iron ore but official ships to monitor areas to be proposed as natural conservation areas. “It is not true that there are sand mining in the areas. Those are teams from local government to assess areas for marine conservation,” said Subakir.
Meanwhile, villagers of Sebesi island allegedly caught Mandala 8 Ternate barge collecting iron ore for the past two weeks.
Director of Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Lampung chapter, Bejoe Dewangga said that they conducted their own investigation cooperating with Legal Aid Foundation team. “We found that the barge in the Sebesi island had been moving towards the mountain area. We also managed to get sand samples from the barge and ask one of the crew. The cree explained that they were installing vibrating detection device,” Dewangga said.
Despite of the truth, he said that the company did violate regulation. “They still don’t have permit even no environmental impact assessment. Based on the 2009 Law on Environmental Protection and Management, no mining activities are allowed before they obtain permits and environmental impact assessment,” he said.
Iron ore mining is not new to Anak Krakatau Mountain, which is known for its high quality black sand due to volcanic activities. Some of the companies used natural disaster mitigation to cover up dredging the sand. In 2009, similar activities were permitted by local government despite of rejection from ministry of forestry.
“We just want government to be firm. Don’t let natural reserves being destroyed with an excuse for natural disaster mitigation,” said Dewangga. Eni Muslihah