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PT SPN Oil Palm Company in Lee Village, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia


PT Sinergi Perkebunan Nusantara (PT SPN), earlier PT Perkebunan Nusantara XIV (PT PNXIV), has been granted nine Hak Guna Usaha (HGU) land use permits (long term commercial leases) in the district Mori Atas which together add up to 18,584 ha. One of those was obtained in 2009 and occupies an area of 1,895 ha, out of which 800-1150 ha (the number of hectares differ depending on sources, see (1) (2) (3). This area includes rice fields, farmland, grazing land, water sources and sacred sites (4). 

According to established criteria, communities affected by an HGU permit and subsequent company activities should be informed prior to its implementation. However, PT SPN obtained its HGU permit from the National Land Agency (BPN) without providing the Village Government and the villagers with socialisation or information about the inclusion of their territory in the concession area. Allegedly, the villagers were unaware until the company entered the village with artillery and commenced evictions in 2014 (1) (4) . Since the permit has been issued, signed and published by BPN, the company and the North Morowali District government claim it to have been granted legitimately. The Lee Village Government as well as the villagers have filed complaints to the District Government, refusing to accept the evictions, company activities as well as the granting of the permit itself, with regards to the lack of prior consent-seeking and socialisation. Repeatedly, villagers have visited the BPN office and those of other related agencies (4).  A letter of protest was sent to BPN in December of 2014, pledging the removal of Village Lee from the PT SPN HGU (4). Citizens of the village have mobilized against the company and its plantations. In January 2015, around 30 villagers led by the village head managed to stop part of the machinery moving in the territory. After the action, an agreement was reached, and the activity was stopped temporarily, but later resumed (5).  In September 2015 meetings were held including the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), local governments, BPN, village heads and farmers, among others. Several requests were made on part of Lee Village: 1) The end of company activities on Lee territory over which villagers have certificate, 2) The formation of a joint team consisting of North Morowali District Government, Heads of Mori Atas and Lee as well as the Morowali police investigator to inspect certificates and measure the farmer's land, 3) A letter sent by the Regent of North Morowali to the BPN requesting a review of the granted HGU (3). Whether these demands on part of the villagers will be met or not is yet to be seen, and the current status of the conflict is unknown.    



Basic Data

Name of conflict:PT SPN Oil Palm Company in Lee Village, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
State or province:Kecamatan Mori Atas, Kabupaten Morowali Utara di Sulawesi Tenga
Location of conflict:Lee Village
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Palm oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

PT SPN does not have a processing plant in the North Morowali region but relies on transportation of fruit to other processors, such as Agro Astra Lestari (ALL) and PPT Sinar Mas (6).

Project area:1,895 (total plantation area 20-HGU-BPN RI-2009, (27.01 .09))
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:150 households
Start of the conflict:2014
Company names or state enterprises:PT Sinergi Perkebunan Nusantara (SPN)
Relevant government actors:Minister of State Secretariat, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, the Governor of Central Sulawesi, the Head of BPN Sulteng, the DPRD of Central Sulawesi, the Regent of Morowali, the Regent of North Morowali, the North Morowali DPRD, BPN Morowali, the Chief of Morowali Police, the Head of the Land Dispute Team of North Morowali Regency
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Yayasan Tanah Merdeka (YTM,

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
Meetings with the National Land Agency (BPN) and related agencies


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Fires, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Displacement
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Militarization and increased police presence


Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Status of conflict unknown

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

(4) Mongabay, 2015. Ketika Desa Lee di Morowali Minta Dikeluarkan dari HGU Perkebunan Sawit

(6) YTM, 2017. Kondisi Kelas Pekerja Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit PT SPN di Morowali Utara

(5) Mongabay 2015. Demo Warga di Morowali Berhasil Hentikan Aktivitas Perkebunan Sawit

(1) Perkebunannews 2016. Perusahaan Negara Rampas Tanah Petani di Desa LEE


(3) PRP Indonesia, 2016. Perusahaan Negara Melakukan Praktek Perampasan Tanah Petani di Desa Lee

Other documents

Source: PT. Perkebunan Nusantara XIV (PTPN), now changed to PT. Sinergi Perkebunan Nusantara (PT SPN).

Meta information

Contributor:Emmy Iwarsson (ICTA-UAB)
Last update24/03/2018




PT. Perkebunan Nusantara XIV (PTPN), now changed to PT. Sinergi Perkebunan Nusantara (PT SPN).