Indonesia: Kendeng plant protesters win temporary reprieve

Indonesia: Kendeng plant protesters win temporary reprieve
Published: 04 August 2016


People from the Kendeng Mountains, in the northern part of Central Java, have won a temporary reprieve after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that further environmental impact analyses would be needed before cement factory operations and mining could start in the area.

Following his meeting with the Kendeng women, on Tuesday 2 August 2016, the President said that the analyses are to ensure that the construction of cement factories in the karst topographical region would not damage the environment.

The residents of Kendeng have been fighting for years to stop the development of the factories they believed would threaten their livelihoods and their sources of water. Some companies, including state-owned PT Semen Indonesia, are expected to open factories in the area soon. Construction of PT Semen’s factory is 95 per cent complete, according to local sources. The company plans to conduct
trial operations in October, before commercial production starts next year.

Jokowi Widodo has ordered relevant ministries to start the study, known as a strategic environmental assessment (KLHS), an environmental assessment that regional administrations have to carry out before issuing permits for land or forest management, as stipulated in the 2009 law on environmental management and protection.

With Jokowi’s order, any future mining activities in the areas canonly be conducted after the environmental study yields its final results, although construction of factories in the area can continue.

The President has tasked Presidential chief of staff Teten Masduki to lead the study that also involves a number of ministries, including the Environment and Forestry Ministry, and local administrations in the area.

Other cement firms such as PT Sahabat Mulia Sakti, a subsidiary of cement company PT Indocement, PT Vanda Prima Listri and PT Imasco Tambang have announced plans to build cement plants in Pati, Grobogan and Blora.