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Minister can't just give mining permit to religious organisation says Walhi

CNN Indonesia - June 14, 2024

Jakarta – The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) says that Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia, who is also the head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), cannot just suddenly issue a mining permit to the Nahdlatul Ulama's Central Board (PBNU).

Walhi mining and energy campaign manager Rere Christianto said this was because there is currently no presidential regulation governing the offering of Special Mining Business Permit Areas (WIUPK) to religious mass organisations (ormas).

Article 83A Paragraph 7 of Government Regulation (PP) Number 25/2024 on Amendments to PP Number 96/2021 on the Implementation of Mineral and Coal Mining Business Activities explains that further provisions on offering WIUPK as a priority to business entities owned by religions organisations shall be regulated under a presidential regulation.

"So Minister Bahlil can't suddenly say 'in a few weeks NU will get a permit', because the presidential regulation doesn't exist yet. There are still rules made by government regulations. The rules on the implementation under it to determine the procedures in further detail don't exist yet", said Christianto at the Walhi office in South Jakarta on Thursday June 13.

Furthermore, Christianto noted that PP Number 25/2024 on Amendments to PP Number 96/2021 on the Implementation of Mineral and Coal Mining Business Activities will put religious organisations into the position of acting as a bumper (buffer) to the government's ambitions.

"So okay then they become a bumper to collide with social conflicts over environmental damage that has already occurred in PKP2B [Work Activity and Coal Mining Agreements]. As well as becoming a bumper to absorb acrimonious public attention while the government is actually smuggling in other facilitating articles for corporations [to ease] wider private investment", he said.

Walhi believes that PP Number 25/2024 shows that for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's regime, mining permits are not a mechanism for limiting, controlling and protecting the environmental impacts due to mining activities.

But rather, they have just become a tool of transactional power and the selloff of natural resources, especially in the coal mining sector.

Earlier, Lahadalia promised to issue a mining management permit to the PBNU this week. He said NU had already established a business entity and taken care of the WIUPK with the Ministry of Investment and the BKPM.

He added that the PBNU will get a coal mining concession with fairly large reserves.

"NU will get (a WIUPK), NU has established a business entity. So, it's their business entity (that will get the mining permit), it'll be managed professionally. I have read some PBNU's releases and it is true that if I'm not mistaken next week, the matter will be completed", he said at the Investment Ministry building in South Jakarta on Friday June 7. (lna/DAL)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Walhi: Bahlil Tak Bisa Buat Izin Tambang untuk PBNU Secara Tiba-tiba".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240613203227-12-1109673/walhi-bahlil-tak-bisa-buat-izin-tambang-untuk-pbnu-secara-tiba-tib