Villagers remove mining equipment
Local people to eject company to try to protect their local agriculture
JPIC team in Ruteng diocese visiting a planned mining site
Villagers in East Nusa Tenggara plan to begin removing equipment belonging to a mining company today in a bid to prevent expansion that would threaten their crops. People in Rawang hamlet in East Manggarai held a traditional ritual yesterday before starting to move the equipment belonging to PT Arumbai, hoping that the district government will not give permission to other mining companies to do exploration in the area. Rawang headman Nobertus Bon said: “We are very proud, happy and satisfied because our struggle against mining exploration finally bore fruit. PT Arumbai no longer exploits manganese in Golo Rawang hill.” He said the main reason why the villagers fought against the mining exploration “is to save the nature from such environmental destruction and to maintain (our) coffee, candlenut and cacao plantations.” The plantations are located around an existing 2,000ha manganese site. According to Yohanes Sabu, who coordinates volunteers for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in Ruteng diocese, about 90 families, more than 300 people, fought against the company’s mining exploration because it failed to show the mining exploration results to the villagers. Divine Word Father Simon Suban Tukan, who coordinates his society’s JPIC in Ruteng, also supported the villagers’ move. “They have seen a mining site in another area. This mining [excavation] had destroyed the land,” he said. “I am proud of the villagers’ courage to reject the presence of the mining company in their area,” he said.