Issue 9 - 1 October 2012 enews home

Researchers target negative impacts of mining in West Timor

By Louise Errington

The West Timorese Manganese mining sector will benefit from CDU's work in the region over the next 12 months

A group of Charles Darwin University academics is working to help reduce the negative impacts of manganese mining in West Timor.

The group, led by Rohan Fisher and Dr Bronwyn Myers from CDU's Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, started the process recently with a workshop in Kupang during which the negative social, health and environmental impacts associated with manganese mining were explored.

Supported by a grant from AusAID's Public Sector Linkages Program, Dr Myers said CDU would work with Indonesian partners to build capacity in West Timor to monitor manganese mining activities and work towards reducing the negative impacts over the next 12 months.

"Growth of manganese mining in West Timor has been rapid and largely unregulated, with most being small scale and low tech," Dr Myers said.

"We've received reports of serious negative impacts such as deaths due to mine collapse, long-term health problems in children, erosion, forest degradation and farmers abandoning food production for financial gains from mining," she said.

Workshop presentations included issues associated with manganese mining, international perspectives of the impacts of small scale mining, survey and modelling tools, electromagnetic geophysics techniques and rehabilitation of mine sites.

The workshop was hosted by the East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Environmental Agency.

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