Jakarta (Greeners) – Indonesian Child Protection Agency and Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs will establish a team to investigate the death of 24 children due to mining pits in East Kalimantan.
The team will be led by Inspector General Carlo Tewu of the Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs.
“The meeting had agreed that legal process must continue even if companies give compensation, it will not stop legal process,” said Tewu in Jakarta, in Friday (05/08).
Furthermore, Tewu said that they would investigate data difference on numbers of victims between the agency and investigators.
On investors, he added that there was possibility that they have given collateral for reclamation. However, the money should have covered the pits as government stipulated companies to submit the money before exploration.
“The collateral is in form of joint account, deposit in government’s bank in Indonesia, Bank Guarantee from government’s or national private banks or accounting reserve,” he added.
The 2014 Ministry Regulation had regulated sanctions for companies that do not submit the collateral, including written warning, stop temporarily parts or all activities, and revoke permits of exploration and production.
“The problem is that we don’t know the collateral given to who, where it is kept and how much. We need to clarify that data,” he said. “I cannot make assumptions [on the amount] as the data is kept by provincial administration and mineral resources agency.”
Based on Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam), there are 3,500 mining pits in East Kalimantan, of which 232 pits are located in Samarinda city.
Up to date, 15 out of 25 killed in the pits in East Kalimantan are children. Nearly 70 percent of Samarinda city is mining areas.
Merah Johansyah Ismail, an activist of Jatam, cited the document of PT Graha Benua Etam (GBE) that northern part of its concession areas were supposed to be plantation and agriculture.
In addition, the distance between pits allegedly broke the regulation as they were found too close with settlements. The save distance, based on Environment Ministry Regulation issued in 2012, is 500 meter between the edge with settlements. But, they found that the distance was only less than 200 meter apart.
The company also allegedly broke other regulations, including did not install plates or warning signs and no monitoring which caused people fell into the pits.
“Based on people’s testimony, the pits have been abandoned nearly three years. This is clearly against the regulation that the pits should be closed no later than 30 days after the last activity,” said Ismail.
Reports by Danny Kosasih