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Students protest against mining project

Exploration permit given to company was issued illegally, they say

Students carrying a coffin covered with a black cloth on the way to the local legislature's office
Students carrying a coffin covered with a black cloth on the way to the local legislature's office
  • Albertus V. Rehi, Ende
  • Indonesia
  • January 10, 2012
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Students in East Nusa Tenggara province took to the streets in Ende district yesterday to protest the granting of an exploration permit to a mining company searching for iron-bearing minerals.

They say the subsequent exploration activities of PT Grand Victory Resources on a 132-hectare piece of land in North Ende and Nangapanda sub-districts have caused harm to the environment.

The district’s head issued the exploration permit in September 2009 and allows the mining company to conduct exploration until 2015.

Around 100 students from the Joint Secretariat of the Union of Catholic University Students of the Republic of Indonesia and the Movement for Indonesian Young University Students marched on the local legislature’s office to demand the company’s mining permit be revoked.

Some students carried a coffin covered with a black cloth to signify what they say is the impending death of the local environment.

They also accused the district chief, Don Bosco Mikhael Wangge, of issuing the permit illegally.

“How can he issue a permit when a bill on gas and mineral exploration and a local regulation on mining have not yet been approved by local legislators?” they said.

Student spokesman Nikolaus Bhuka, also accused the district chief of not even bothering to conduct a study on the environmental impact mining could have in the area.

“The Joint Secretariat will call for a vote of no confidence in the district’s head because he only cares for investors and not for local people,” he said.

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