Sulawesi: Village wins against mining company

A group of activists and villagers standing together on a clearing They saved the rainforest in Tojo: Andika and the village people of Betaua

Aug 1, 2012

The people of Betaua defended their forest courageously – now, the district chief withdrew his permission for mining iron ore. Also they won in court: A planned habour will not be built. Our partner organisation JATAM supported the community with all they could – also with your donation.

Whenever the village chief Betaua and the head of campaigns of JATAM called out for a mass rally, then all citizens would parade the streets. Together they protested against the planned construction of an iron ore mine, that would not only destroy the communal forest, but also the neighbouring conservation area. Ebony, Meranti and many other valuable forest species can be found in the rainforest in the district Tojo Una-Una. Also the endemic Sulawesi Hornbill bird inhabits the forest area.

District chief bowed before the protests of the community

The natives of Betaua were, as usual, not informed as the concession for the exploitation of iron-ore was granted by the the district chief to the company PT Ina Touna Mining. They first heard about the threatening catastrophe through the activists of JATAM, the network against coal-mining.

The district chief finally bowed before the courageous protest of the community members and withdrew his permission for mining. A second step however had to be forced upon him legally: In november 2011 he redrew Betua´s community borderline as a precaution to create space to build a harbour for the export of iron ore from the PT Ina Touna mine. The court declared that the district government had no right to do so and decided to leave the border in its original place. Furthermore the court had the district government to pay all costs of the legal process.

Case shows how important fundings are

JATAM campaigning chief Andika Ndika is extremely pleased by this success, seeing as JATAM was involved with preparing and financing the case. “Even if PT Ina Touna no longer has a license, the harbour would have been an invitation to other companies and investors to apply for coal-mining licenses.”

This case also shows how donations are successfully used by our Indonesian partners in the province of central Sulawesi. We support Jatam regularly with 1,000 Euro per month, we look forward to your continuing support: https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/donate/87/mining-in-sulawesi-help-to-stop-the-bulldozers

The activists are in need of additional funding to build an educational center for the indigenous peoples of Dondo and Lauje in the province Toli-Toli. Meanwhile the local government has granted eleven concessions – in a mountain rainforest, which is holy to the natives as well as it is their source for valuable drinking water. The center will not only open the possibility of learning to read and write, but also inform the natives of coal-mining activities, forest-protection and their legal rights.

Funding is urgently needed for educational material, books, brochures and also furniture. Thank you very much for your donation to JATAM and the natives of Toli-Toli.