TEMPO.CO, Jambi - At least one million hectares (2.47 million acres) of protected and conserved forest in the Jambi Province have been damaged by mining operations. The districts of Sarolangun and Bungo are touted to be responsible for issuing licenses (IUP) for miners to work on the area.
"We urge the government to revoke the IUPs that were given," Musli Nauli, executive director of the Jambi office of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), told Tempo on Sunday, May 25.
According to Walhi's research, in the last ten years there has been a massive number of mining licenses and recommendations issued. According to Musli, these permits are often issued about a year before or after the regional election.
"This proves that there is a game between regents and businessmen," he said.
Walhi's findings also suggested that per every IUP issued, the regent allegedly receives a tribute of up to billions of rupiahs.
The Jambi province has issued a total of 398 IUPs, of which 198 are considered problematic as they are located in protected forests and overlap with one another. The Bungo district is reported to have 51 problematic IUPs of the 70 it had issued in total. In the Sarolangun district, 47 out of 83 issued IUPs are considered problematic.
Sarolangun district chief Cek Endra said he is reduced to headaches by this condition. "I might just revoke these problematic IUPs and not renew their licenses," he asserted.