Illegal Iron Ore Mine on Bangka Island in the Coral Triangle, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Sea critters, fishermen and iron: The Battle for Bangka


Bangka is an island in the Lembeh Strait. It is part of the Coral Triangle, a priority area for marine conservation, and the Lembeh strait is considered among the planet’s premiere diving destinations for the richness of species and coral that can be found. Bangka Island is located in the southern tip of Sulawesi Island. The island is located close to the Bunaken Marine National Park, the very popular marine-based tourism destination in the world. It is also a habitat for the endangered Dugong and xxxx.

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Basic Data
NameIllegal Iron Ore Mine on Bangka Island in the Coral Triangle, Sulawesi, Indonesia
ProvinceMinhasa Regency, North Sulawesi
SiteBangka Island (Villages of Libas, Kahuku, Ehe and Lihunu)
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesIron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsMangrove ecosystem occupies about 1.98% of the total island area, an area of about 57.8 ha in 2013 (4).
Project Area (in hectares)2,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population3,000 (pop. of island)
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesPT Mikgro Metal Perdana (MMP) from China
Relevant government actorsSudariyono, deputy minister for environmental compliance

Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources

North Minahasa Regency

North Minahasa’s District Head, Sompie Singal

Special government commission was established to support the initiative to permit mining of small islands, led by former Minister for Fisheries, Rokhmin Dahuri

Komnas HAM, Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSave Bangka Island Coalition, comprised of Walhi (Indonesian Forum for the Environment), Jatam (Mining Advocacy Network), Greenpeace, Kiara (People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice), Tunas Hijau,, YLBHI (Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation), LMND (National Student League for Democracy) and KontraS, Kaka SLANK, AMMALTA Aliansi Masyarakat Menolak Limbah Tambang, 
LMND Liga Mahasiswa Nasional untuk Demokrasi Sulut & Tunas Hijau, Indonesia Corruption Watch, AMAN (Indigenous People’s Alliance), Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Diving community
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Recreational users
International Diving communities, Indonesian Celebrities (Slank)
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Othermangrove deforestation (V), coral reef destruction (V)
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Revocation of mining license by the Supreme Court
Development of AlternativesTo continue livelihoods based on fisheries, tourism and agricultural activities on the island.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The excavation and construction work continues despite the Supreme Court ruling. However, the case continues.
Sources and Materials

Article 117 letter b of Law No. 4 year 2009 on Mineral and Coal Mining, requiring an IUP for every mining activity.

Supreme Court verdict no. 291 K/TUN/2013 on 24 September 2013 Jo. No 165/B.TUN/2012/PT.TUN.Mks on 01 March 2013 MA, revoking the mining permit.

Article 158 of Law no. 4 year 2009 on Mineral and Coal Mining, i.e every person who doing mining without IUP (mining permit), will be imposed with imprisonment for 10 years and fines of Rp. 10 billion

Law No.41/1999 on Forestry, determining that the area in Bangka has Limited Production Forest Zone status and therefore requires a special permit from the Forestry Ministry

UU No. 27/2007 on Small Islands and Coastal Region Management, banning any mining activities for islands smaller than 200.000 hectares

UU No. 24/2007 on Disaster Management, obliging vice regents to do a Disaster Risk Analysis for mining plans

UU No. 32/2009 on Environmental protection and management, obliging vice regents to do a strategic environmental study for spatial utilization.

UU No. 14/2008 on Public Information Transparency, obliging vice regents to not omit information regarding policies on mining companies (such as PT Mikgro Metal Perdana)

Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) - Destruction of habitat of Threatened species (IUCN Red List of Species), such as Dugong (Vulnerable A2)


(4) Stakeholder Analysis for Coastal Tourism Development in Bangka Island, North Sulawesi Indonesia, J. Basic. Appl. Sci. Res., 3(1)1043-1050, 2013


(1) Local communities resist mining development on Sulawesi’s Bangka Island, Tessa Toumbourou
[click to view]

(2) Uprising against illegal mining in Indonesia pits villagers against miners, police, Loren Bell, Mongabay-Indonesia, February 19, 201
[click to view]

Kaka Slank's petition
[click to view]

(3) Police told to pull out of Bangka Island, The Jakarta Post, Sat, April 26 2014
[click to view]

Media Links

Coral Eye resort and Marine Research Center on Bangka Video
[click to view]

Other Documents

Bangka residents resist a boat from PT MMP, photo: Nelce Buwole source:
[click to view]

Underwater paradise under threat source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLeah Temper
Last update17/02/2015