Issue 21
Monday, 21 November 2016
Charles Darwin University
E-news
RIEL researcher Sarah Hobgen (centre) and Head of the Indonesian Community Miners Association Gatot Sugiharto (centre left) with attendees at the event in Jakarta
RIEL researcher Sarah Hobgen (centre) and Head of the Indonesian Community Miners Association Gatot Sugiharto (centre left) with attendees at the event in Jakarta

Big ideas for small-scale mining

By Katie Weiss

About 150 government delegates, academics and community miners recently discussed issues of small-scale mining at an international forum in Jakarta, co-organised by Charles Darwin University.

During the two-day conference, speakers developed a series of recommendations about the practice at the request of the Indonesian Minister for Environment and Forestry.

Recommendations included formalising the rights and responsibilities of miners and land owners, adopting environmentally friendly mining practices and creating a working unit within the Indonesian Government to manage community mine licensing.

The conference, entitled “Community mining in Indonesia: minimising harm, maximising benefits”, was co-organised by CDU with the Association for Community Miners, University Nusa Cendana and University Haluoleo.

CDU’s Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) researcher Rohan Fisher said the conference provided an opportunity to discuss ways to increase the benefits of community mining in Indonesia.

“The conference has highlighted the many ways that communities benefit from small-scale mining, and has explored pathways to formalising the industry and creating a best practice model,” Mr Fisher said.

“It has also helped raise the profile of the issue for senior government delegates.”

He said that more than two million people were directly involved in Indonesia’s small-scale mining industry, producing minerals including gold, manganese, tin, coal and building materials.

Mr Fisher leads a RIEL and Australian National University research team that is working with government and non-government East Indonesian agencies to monitor manganese mining in Kupang and gold mining in Sulawesi. The project received a $1.2 million grant as part of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Government Partnerships for Development program.