26 March 2023
Harita Nickel strongly denied JATAM's allegations regarding environmental damage as a result of its mining operations on Obi Island, South Halmahera, North Maluku.
Harita Nickel considers JATAM's statement in a press release distributed on Friday (3/24) to be seriously misleading and has resulted in an unfavorable opinion of Harita Nickel's development efforts on Obi Island.
Corporate Affairs Manager of Harita Nickel, Anie Rahmi emphasized that PT TBP's mining operational system, which is a business unit of Harita Nickel, always prioritizes the best mining practices by referring to KEPMEN ESDM No. 1827/2018 concerning Guidelines for the Implementation of Good Mining Engineering Rules, which starts from land clearing, stripping top soil, removing overburden, taking limonite ore to be processed at the HPAL factory with hydrometallurgical technology, taking saprolite ore to be processed with pyrometallurgical technology, closing mine pits, reclamation and revegetation.
"We are the first company to carry out mineral conservation, which means reducing rock waste to be utilized as mineral resources for electric car battery raw materials," Anie said.
Regarding the issue of annexation of residents' land alleged, it can be conveyed that the entire Harita Nickel area on Obi Island that has been operating is currently located in the Forest Area, both Production Forest (HP) and Conversion Production Forest (HPK) and Harita holds a Land Use Forest Permit (PPKH) for each land clearing.
People who have cultivated, are given compensation for the land as well as compensation for growing plants (GRTT) in accordance with Decree of the South Halmahera Regency Government.
"And it is not true what is alleged that the company occupies land through repressive actions as well as intimidation to residents, but through a transparent process and favorable payments for the community," Anie explained.
The statement that almost all water sources of Kawasi residents have been polluted due to nickel ore sedimentation from company operations is misleading.
Anie emphasized that there was no discharge of nickel ore into the water sources of Kawasi residents which caused sedimentation.
So far, PT TBP has placed the remaining nickel processing products into the former mining pit (Dry Stack). The Dry Stack is considered a safe and environmentally friendly method that meets national and international standards.
"There is no discharge of factory waste into the Todoku River and Akelemo River. The company has always been compliant in environmental management and monitoring," Anie emphasized.
The remaining processing products are not placed in the Toduku River or Akelamo River, but in the former mine out in dry tailings in compliance with the Technical Approval and Operational Feasibility Letter (SLO) from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK).
Commencing its operations in 2010, the company has obtained environmental permits and environmental management permits from the government.
Later on November 17, 2020 the government designated Harita Nickel as a national strategic project.
"We also have obtained permits as well as technical approvals from the government for processing residue or waste management, where the residue of this process is initially managed, and released to the environment in compliance with established quality standards, and periodically reported to the government," Anie said.
During its operations, the company's waste management has always received regular inspections and supervision from the national, provincial and district governments.
The relevant government agencies for the environment and mining also conduct inspections and supervision from the national, provincial and district levels on our environmental monitoring and management implementation activities. The statement that waste disposal pipes from the company's exploration activities allegedly lead to the sea, causing ecosystems and vulnerable fish to be contaminated with heavy metals. "This is also totally misleading. There are no exploration pipes to the sea," Anie said.
Regarding the results of Muhammad Aris's research that was used as a reference, it cannot be concluded that the fish on Obi Island are polluted, as the research did not mention where the sample points were located and what the contamination was due to.
So far, most of fish supplies for consumption of Harita Nickel employees on Obi Island are obtained from local suppliers from Kawasi Village and Soligi Village.
Harita Nickel recently held a fishing competition in Kawasi and the results of some participants who are residents of Kawasi and Soligi Village even managed to hook a fish weighing more than 20 kilograms.
This indicates that fish around Kawasi are still abundant which means that the marine ecosystem, especially around the mining area, is still preserved.
Meanwhile, regarding the relocation issue of Kawasi Village residents to the Eco-Vollage, this is a government program supported by the company. This is because the current location is too crowded and results in an unhealthy environment. The relocation to the new location, with three times of the existing settlement area, all permanent housing units are equipped with excellent sanitation, well-organized school area, complete social facilities, equipped with clean water facilities, 24-hour electricity, and other supporting public facilities. The new village will improve the livability of the community.
"The Eco-Village program is currently in the process of completion and is supported by most of the Kawasi villagers," she said.