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Illegal sand mining threatening Bitung city

Bitung, Ekuatorial – At least 15 illegal sand mining operating in Bitung city of North Sulawesi threatening the small harbor city, said an official, in Bitung, on Monday (13/4).

“From our data, at least 15 mining locations have no legal permits. If you count legal [mining] then there will be lots of mining sites in this city,” said Emmy Wior, head of Mining Unit of Bitung Energy and Mineral Resources. “Those 15 mining sites usually hold permits that expired in 2014. But, none of them extend the permits that make their activities as illegal.”

Wior added that some of those locations were also not recorded, meaning that they have never reported to the agency.

Based on the 2014 law on regional authority, mining permits for type C activities are being issued by Governor and no longer from Energy and Mineral Resources agency.

“Governor issued the permit meanwhile the agency only gives recommendation,” she added.

Maria Taramen, a green activist, said that Bitung administration should have been strict in protecting the environment. Taramen underlined that it was not about permit issuance but on how those permits resulted to environmental damages.

“If we are only talking about permits, then the orientation is usually regional income. Consequently, environmental protection is being neglected. But, those permits should have consider environmental impacts and seriously implemented by them,” she said. Yoseph Ikanubun

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