Indonesian Govt Criticized Over Tesla US$5 Bln Nickel Deal

9 August 2022 20:47 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaIndonesian Initiative for Sustainable Mining researcher Jannus TH Siahaan in a statement on Tuesday criticized the government for giving an international corporation a free pass to purchase Indonesian nickel without having to take ecological responsibility. His statement comes after Tesla announced a US$5 billion deal for the next five years to buy materials for their batteries from Indonesian nickel processing companies.

Jannus said that the deal would pose risks for Indonesia. He reasoned that the deeper the involvement of the Elon Musk-owned company is in Indonesia’s nickel mining chain of supply, the larger the investment cost and risk the country will have to face.

“The clearest issue is the environmental risk,” said Jannus in a statement on Tuesday, August 9.

A few weeks ago, a coalition of international and Indonesian non-governmental organizations (NGO) sent a letter to Tesla urging the company to back down from the nickel deal. They said that the majority of the deal involves irresponsible practices and damage to the environment.

“Unfortunately, to this day, the Indonesian government has not acted in any significance, not as much as they should d,” said Jannus. 

According to him, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry (ESDM) has nearly done nothing in terms of innovation in terms of policies that would help rehabilitate former mining locations. He also mentioned the lack of concrete evidence that is verified and can be communicated to the public in terms of environmental protection and rehabilitation of mining sites. 

"They are only stuck with the jargon of good mining practices, which have minimal success in implementation, especially in the environmental sector," said Jannus.

The lack of evidence of rehabilitation programs by the government, Jannus pointed out, was seen when the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources released the successful reclamation of 9,694 hectares of ex-mining sites in 2020. Even though this data was far above the target set by the government of 7,000 hectares.

"Unfortunately, this data cannot be verified anywhere, nor the evidence of its success is like. This data is also very subjective because it is not accompanied by information on the area or rate of land cleared due to mining," he said.

In the same year, the number of metal and coal mining permits with operating status issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources reached 2,000-3,000 companies. That is, with the existing reclamation data, the average company reclamation is approximately 3-4 hectares per year.

ARRIJAL RACHMAN 

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