The Kutai national park is an important habitat for Borneo orangutans and other endangered species
In the midst of ancient rainforest, the British company Churchill Mining is planning to exploit coal – and is taking the Indonesian state to court about it. This project is endangering more than 2,000 orangutans living in the Kutai national park. Please write toChurchill and the Indonesian government. No mining in the orangutan forest!
Big cash or orangutans – what is more important? This is the question an Indonesian court has to answer right now. A British conglomerate called Churchill Mining is planning to exploit a multi-billion dollar coal deposit in the national park Kutai in East Kalimantan. This conservation area is home to more than 2,000 Bornean orangutans.
The survival of these endangered great apes depends on protected areas like the Kutai national park. Here they have found a refuge where they live side by side with other rare species such as sunbears and clouded leopards.
Churchill caught illegally logging
However, Churchill Mining seems to be solely interested in their desired profit. And seems to recklessly endorse the loss of this nature reserve. In 2008 the corporation received a 25 year permission for the conveyance of coal. The coal producing area overlaps the boarder of the national park and the planned opencast mine would entail consequences deep into the heart of the nature reserve.
As Churchill Mining was caught illegally logging as early as in the phase of exploration, an Indonesian authority withdrew the permission for a coal mine. Now the British company is preparing an international lawsuit in order to claim its right to destruction.
Please write toChurchill Mining and the Indonesian government. No mining in the orangutan forest!
Churchill Mining is a relatively young enterprise and is little experienced in large scale mining projects. The company has been listed at AIM, the London Stock Exchange's market for smaller growing companies, since 2005. AIM is often criticized for being a business playground for some of the not so reliable companies, as they do not have to publish reports and plans there. The revocation of the project licence for subsidiary PT Ridlatama Group must have been bitter for the British conglomerate. Churchill Mining is now ready to take the case to an international court in order to either regain permission or receive a compensation of two billion dollars.
Churchill caught illegally logging in the Kutai national park
The official reason for the revocation of the British company's licence was the proof of illegal logging in the Kutai national park. However, there are voices stating that the permission is about to be given to an Indonesian company instead. The mining company Nusantara Group is also very interested in exploiting the coal deposit in East Kutai. Owner of the company is the influential Indonesian politician Prabowo Subianto. The catastrophic effects of daylight mining on communities and the environment have been described extensively in studies. This is why mining in sensitive ecosystems should be banned altogether.
To protect the rainforest means to protect the orangutans
In order to save its rainforests from total destruction, Indonesia has to enshrine the indefeasible conservation status of its national parks in its constitution. Short-term profits must not be more important than the conservation of nature. Particularly as Indonesia's forests are important carbon sinks and therefore hold immense value to global climate control. If they are destroyed we are all going to suffer the consequences. And as Indonesia's president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono noted at the Bali conference in 2007: „The key understanding is to save the orangutan. For that, we must save the forest.“
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Dear Sir, dear Mr. President,
I appreciate the decision of the Indonesian High Court to revoke Churchill Mining PLC's permit to carry out mining on the fringes of Kutai National Park. An open-cut mine in the National Park has a direct negative impact on the eco-system of this conservation area.
The Kutai National Park is an important habitat of the Bornean orangutans and many other endangered animal species. A mining project of this scale with direct influence on the intactness of the Kutai National Park endangers the survival of these species. It is with great concern that I observe the pending case between Churchill Mining PLC and the Indonesian state regarding mining permit for the East Kutai Coal Project.
I hereby ask Churchill to stop all mining projects within and on the fringes of the Kutai National Park.
I also ask the Indonesian government
- not to issue any more permits for this area
- to establish and respect an indefeasible conservation status for the Kutai national park and all other Indonesian national parks as the biosphere of a unique and endangered flora and fauna and not to allow economic projects to endanger this status
- to rigorously prosecute any infringement of the conservation status.