Friday, March 26, 2010

Indonesia may close hundreds of coal mines

Legislation that takes effect next month will give Indonesia’s Environment Ministry power to revoke business licenses and permits without having to go through police.

The ministry will first use the new law to crack down on coal producers in the Kalimantan provinces “because there are companies that have built mines in forested areas without approval,” Indonesia's state minister for environment, Gusti M. Hatta, told Bloomberg.

“Almost half” of more than 1,500 mines appearing in the four provinces on Borneo Island in the past decade are illegal, he said.

Larger producers such as PT Bumi Resources and PT Adaro Energy “tend to be good” in managing the environment, he said. Some businesses have “misinterpreted” the government’s intent to enforce the new law, Hatta said.

“We’ll give time” to the companies to deal with their environmental issues “although we’ll strictly monitor the progress,” he said.

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