TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Energy and Mineral Resources Agency (ESDM) in the Province of Banten revealed there had been hundreds of illegal gold mine operating in the Mount Halimun Salak National Park (TNGHS) which triggered the devastating flash floods and landslides.
The outlaw gold miners’ activities, said ESDM, is believed to have contributed to the flash floods in six sub-districts within Lebak Regency’s 3,427 square-kilometer in Banten.
Head of the region’s energy and mineral resources, Eko Palmadi, said the illegal gold mine pits are currently being mapped by local officials along the national park area. The latest number suggests there are over 100 gold mines without permits.
“Based on our records, there are over 100 illegal gold mine pits in the TNGHS area. [the illegal mining] had operated for so long,” said Eko on Wednesday, January 8.
However, Eko asserts that the government and police mass-raided the outlaw gold miners in an attempt to put an end to the practice back in 2003. However, they were blocked by the national park locals who armed themselves with machetes.
Previously, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said the flash floods in Lebak was mainly caused by forest encroachment and illegal gold mine activities. He urged the Regent to put an end to the practice.
WASIUL ULUM (CONTRIBUTOR)