Deadly Coal: coal extraction and Borneo dark generation

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JATAM, 2010

This report on Kalimantan’s deadly coal shows how coal mining is already destroying the future of the people of Kalimantan. It brings together the results of research and shared learning carried out by JATAM and WALHI between 2007 and 2009

The collapse of social ecology in Kalimantan (Borneo Island) is irrefutable proof of the mining industry’s failure to provide the basis for the prosperity of the island’s inhabitants. Since 1968, PT Unocal/Chevron has been extracting oil in East Kalimantan and, to make things worse, Rio Tinto’s gold mining operations in Kelian – which began in 1986 – have left a legacy of 77 million tonnes of tailings in the same province. Now the local residents face coal mining on a massive scale, which is reaching annual extraction rates of more than 200 million tonnes. Both the previous and the current government have treated Kalimantan as a commodity to boost national macro-economic performance rather than as a region capable of ensuring the survival of its people. The returns of this commodity trading are used as a source of foreign exchange to finance Indonesia’s fast-paced development, always littered with corruption scandals, human rights abuses and environmental damage. The exploitation of Kalimantan just shifts from one commodity to the next: timber, oil, gold, oil palm and now coal.

Read the full report here