The Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) is questioning the efficacy of a Rp 80 billion ($6 million) fund managed by the Central Kalimantan provincial government for the rehabilitation of defunct mining sites. This follows after the number of people who have gone missing at abandoned mines in the province in the past four years rose to 24 over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Taylor/World Development Movement)

Teen's Disappearance at Defunct E. Kalimantan Mine Prompts Call for Action

BY :NIVELL RAYDA

MAY 16, 2016

Jakarta. An environmental group is questioning the efficacy of a Rp 80 billion ($6 million) fund managed by the East Kalimantan provincial government for the rehabilitation of defunct mining sites. This comes after the number of people who have died or gone missing at abandoned mines in the province in the past four years rose to 24 over the weekend.

The 17-year-old Wilson became the latest victim on Sunday (15/05) when he disappeared while swimming in a flooded pit belonging to coal miner Insani Bara Perkasa in Kutai Kartanegara district.

Search and rescue officials were still trying to locate the teenager on Monday.

Ahmad Saini of the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) said the provincial government should seal off abandoned pits before they claim more victims. Mining companies, Ahmad said, have paid billions of rupiah towards the mine reclamation fund, which the provincial government is supposed to use to make abandoned sites safe.

However, according to the advocacy group these abandoned pits often get flooded with rainwater and become lakes and ponds, which are very dangerous.

On Aug. 24 last year, 11-year-old Muhammad Yusuf Subhan drowned near the provincial capital Samarinda while swimming at an old mining site that used to belong to Lanna Harita Indonesia. Three more children drowned in Samarinda and Kutai Kartanegara last year.

"With so many victims, the government should not be so ignorant about reclamation. The longer they postpone the reclamation of disused mining sites, the more people will die at these abandoned pits," Ahmad said.

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