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IndoMet project, coal mining in East and Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Started by BHP Billiton and known as the "worst of worst coal projects", it threatens local indigenous peoples and Borneo's mega-diverse forest ecosystems.


For centuries, the indigenous Dayak peoples of Indonesian Borneo lived from the abundant forests and rivers that blanketed the region. Recently, BHP Billiton planned to build a series of massive coal mines that would destroy primary rainforest, deprive indigenous peoples of their customary land, and pollute water sources relied on by up to 1 million people. Then in 2016 BHP Billiton sold part of the project to the Indonesian Adaro company. This coal would be for steel making, and for thermal power plants for electricity. [1] Indonesia’s National Energy Policy (Kebijakan Energi Nasional) anticipates coal comprising 30% of the country’s energy mix by 2025 [1]. Plans are afoot for 35,000 MW of new power stations in the country by 2019, including at least 20,000 MW from coal power alone. Coal deposits are concentrated in Kalimantan’s forested interior, areas inhabited by indigenous Dayak communities. [1]. The formalization of property regimes under Dutch colonial rule extinguished local claims to resources, and concentrated authority for licensing mineral extraction within a centralized state.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:IndoMet project, coal mining in East and Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
State or province:East and Central Kalimantan
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The IndoMet Coal Project, which was initially referred to by BHP Billiton as the Maruwai coal project, covers five potential coal deposits in East and Central Kalimantan in Indonesia. In 2016 a part of it was sold to Adaro. The concessions contain more than 1.2 billion tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal that would be shipped to Asian markets. [5]. Later is was reported [6] that BHP Billiton agreed to sell its coal assets in Indonesia to its partner, Adaro Energy. BHP did not disclose the price for its 75 percent stake in IndoMet Coal. Adaro, however, Indonesia’s second largest thermal coal producer, said in a statement the deal was worth $120 million and would “become effective upon the fulfilment of requirements in the share sale agreement, including necessary approvals from the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.” The amount is well below the $335 million Adaro paid for a 25 percent stake in IndoMet in 2010. [6]

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Project area:350,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project160,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:PT Alam Tri Abadi (Adaro) (Adaro) from Indonesia
BHP Billiton (BHP) from United Kingdom
Relevant government actors:Government of Indonesia, Indonesia’s National Energy Policy (Kebijakan Energi Nasional)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Forum Koordinasi Kelompok Tani Dayak Misik Se-Kalimantan Tengah (FKKTDM-KT)
WALHI (Indonesian Forum for the Environment/Friends of the Earth Indonesia).
Global Justice Now.
London Mining Network.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Dayak Misik people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Public campaigns
Land rights mapping
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Fires, Global warming, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsPopulations of orangutans and other threated species. These forests form a significant part of Borneo's mega-diverse and world-renowned forest ecosystems.
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:BH Billiton started the project, then sold a large share to Adaro. Permission to build a railway for export has been denied. Protests by local people against land grabbing. Support against the project by conservationist organizations.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Benjamin Brown, Samuel J. Spiegel. 2017. Resisting coal: Hydrocarbon politics and assemblages of protest in the UK

and Indonesia. Geoforum
[click to view]

World Development Movement. 2013. Banking while Borneo burns: How the UK financial sector is bankrolling Indonesia’s fossil fuel boom.
[click to view]

[2]IndoMet Coal Project. This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. The IndoMet Coal Project (ICP) (which was initially referred to by BHP Billiton as the Maruwai coal project), covers five potential coal deposits in East and Central Kalimantan in Indonesia.
[click to view]

[3]‘Worst of Worst’ Coal Project in Kalimantan in Doubt After Snub. Jenny Denton, 24th December 2014, Jakarta Globe
[click to view]

[4]Kalimantan Villagers Lodge Land Claim Against BHP Billiton Coal Project, Jakarta Globe
[click to view]

[5] IndoMet Coal Project, 2016
[click to view]

[6] Reuters, June 7, 2016, BHP Billiton sells Indonesian coal assets to Adaro
[click to view]

February,_2010. Deadly Coal. Coal_Extraction_&_Borneo_Dark_Generation. Jakarta:_JATAM,_2010
[click to view]

Resentment Lingers in Village 'Tricked' Out of Its Land. June 14, 2015. Yakarta Globe.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Banking while Borneo burns: top five banks fuelling climate change. 1 oct. 2013. Global Justice Now
[click to view]

BHP Billiton petition hand-in against an Indonesian coal mine. Global Justice Now. On 26 May 2015, Global Justice Now handed in a petition to the London office of BHP Billiton containing over 9,000 signatures against the IndoMet coal mine on Borneo in Indonesia.
[click to view]

2015, Business and Human Rights, Indonesia: Kalimantan villagers file customary land rights claim for area within BHP Billiton's IndoMet coal mine; BHP responds
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:SM (ICTA-UAB)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2994
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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