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Ministry of Environment and Forestry Appreciates Struggle to Reject PT SMN Gold Mine in Trenggalek

Trenggalek News – People who are members of the Trenggalek People’s Alliance visited the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) on Tuesday (25/10/2022).

The arrival of the people of Trenggalek to voice their struggle against the gold mine of PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara (SMN) which threatens the nature of Trenggalek.

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At 10.00 WIB, the people of Trenggalek arrived at the KLHK office. After waiting for 30 minutes, the Trenggalek community was finally met by the Directorate General of Forestry Planning and Environmental Management (Ditjen PKTL) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. There were four people from the Directorate General of PKTL who attended, namely Arif Pratikno, Kurniawan, Anggara, and Nofian.

Soeripto, Secretary of the Regional Leadership of Muhammadiyah Trenggalek, said that PT SMN’s gold mining concession covers an area of ​​12,813.41 hectares, annexing 9 of 14 sub-districts in Trenggalek Regency. Most of the concessions are in forest areas.

Soeripto together with the community and 25 organizations that are members of the Trenggalek People’s Alliance, carried out a sacred mission which was included as an ecological jihad.

The first objective, said Soeripto, namely the Approval for the Use of Forest Areas (PPKH), was not given to PT SMN. The second is the protected area for the essential karst ecosystem which covers 53,506.67 hectares, the results of the 2018 KLHK study, will soon be designated as a protected area in Trenggalek.

“With the establishment of a protected area for the karst ecosystem in Trenggalek Regency, it can become a reference for the Regency Government” [Pemkab] Trenggalek, to establish a protected area for the karst ecosystem. Because the district government always argues that there is no reference to the rules above it, “explained Soeripto.

Previously, in 2018 (the leadership of the Trenggalek Regent, Emil Dardak) the Trenggalek Regency Government planned that a karst ecosystem protected area would be established through a regional regulation (perda).

“Because we are the people, and father” [KLHK] is an official, then we have the right to order you to be able to follow up so that what the government is doing really puts the interests of the people first.

Mine Aggravating Disaster

A joint prayer for Trenggalek’s safety from the PT SMN gold mine disaster/Photo: Trenggalek News

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Moreover, continued Soeripto, the threat of an ecological disaster was real before the exploitation of the PT SMN gold mine was carried out. Currently, there is a disaster in Trenggalek Regency. Starting from flash floods in Watulimo District, to floods, landslides, and landslides throughout Trenggalek Regency.

Temporary data from the Trenggalek Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), as of 22 October 2022, there were 30 villages from 5 sub-districts that were hit by floods. In detail, there are 2640 families, with 8116 people affected by the flood.

In addition, temporary data from the Trenggalek BPBD, as of 22 October 2022, there were landslides in 65 locations from 23 villages in 8 sub-districts that were hit by landslides. In detail, there are 117 families, with 175 refugees.

“If the exploitation of the gold mine in Trenggalek is carried out, then it is a threat to our safety. Not only from an ecological perspective, but also from a social conflict perspective that will occur in Trenggalek Regency. Therefore, we ask the gentlemen at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to accept our aspirations to be followed up, not just accommodated, “said Soeripto.

Problematic East Java Provincial Government

Action against gold mining in KLHK
One of the crowd protesting the gold mine at KLHK/Photo: Kabar Trenggalek

Continuing Soeripto, Mukti Satiti, Coordinator of the Trenggalek People’s Alliance, added that the reason for the hearing with the KLHK was because the East Java Provincial Forestry Service (Dishut Jatim) had twice facilitated PT SMN for field inspections of PPKH.

First, the PPKH field review activity was carried out by the East Java Forestry Office and PT SMN on Monday, October 25, 2021, in Trenggalek. Second, on 28-30 September 2022, the East Java Dishut facilitated PT SMN in the PPKH field review activity in Tulungagung Regency.

The two PPKH field inspection activities are feared to smoothen the gold mining exploitation process by PT SMN in Trenggalek. Finally, the two activities were successfully thwarted by the Trenggalek People’s Alliance, in 2021 with demonstrations.

Then, in 2022, it was thwarted through criticism of Emil Dardak, Deputy Governor of East Java (former Regent of Trenggalek 2016-2019). The criticism was conveyed through the Trenggalek People’s Alliance Twitter account, @rakyatnggalek.

“Our hope is that there will be no more facilitation for PT SMN which violates the licensing process itself. Moreover, PT SMN has never conducted public consultations, suddenly the exploitation permit of PT SMN was issued,” explained Mukti.

KLHK Supports Reject Gold Mining

Arif Pratikno, Director General of PKTL, KLHK when responding to aspirations
Arif Pratikno, Directorate General of PKTL KLHK responding to the aspiration to reject PT SMN’s gold mine in Trenggalek/Photo: Trenggalek News

Responding to the aspirations of the Trenggalek community, Arif Pratikno, a representative of the Directorate General of PKTL, said that before there is a mine, PPKH permits and others must go through processes. Such as, Mining Business Permits (IUP), Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL), and governor recommendations.

“Until now, there has been no application for PPKH from PT SMN to KLHK. We are very grateful for the input from the Trenggalek community, of course it is very useful for us to determine policies and examine if there is a PPKH application, and we will convey it to the leadership, “explained Arif.

Arif said that if there was a PPKH application that could damage nature, the KLHK would not provide a recommendation for a PPKH permit. Because, for KLHK, nature is a gift from God. Moreover, more than 40% of the area in Trenggalek is forest area.

“So it’s a gift too, that with the forest, of course the water is also good, the air is also good. Perhaps, people will feel the benefits of the forest, if the forest is no longer there. The water is gone, the air is hot, and so on. However, if the forest is still there, the person is not aware that the benefits of the forest are enormous,” said Arif.

In addition, Arif said that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry had issued several pro-environmental PPKH permits. For example, the construction of reservoirs in Watulimo District, Dams, Gandusari, and others.

Anggara, a member of the Directorate General of PKTL, added that he appreciated the enthusiasm of the Trenggalek community to fight for the environment.

“I really appreciate it, because the spirit to fight for the environment, actually our goals are the same. We certainly hope that our forests will be sustainable,” said Anggara.

Anggara explained that there is a condition that the Directorate General of PKTL does not give PT SMN a PPKH permit. One of the conditions is a recommendation from the Governor of East Java. Thus, the Trenggalek People’s Alliance, must also pressure the Governor of East Java, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, not to recommend a PPKH permit.

UPDATE FOR THE PEOPLE OF TRENGGALEK GERUDUK JAKARTA:

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