www.batangtoru.org | Mining in Fragile Habitat
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On the southeastern edge of the Batang Toru forest, in South Tapanuli, lies a gold and silver mine spanning 162,900 hectares. This “open-cut” mine was dug into a steep slope along Sumatra’s earthquake fault line. Logging and mining in this steep, earthquake-prone land has already triggered many landslides.

MINING IN FRAGILE HABITAT

This mine, called “Martabe,” poses a critical threat to the remaining natural habitat and potential harm to water and other resources that the surrounding Batak communities depend on.

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Hong Kong-based G-Resources, which owns the Martabe mine site, recently began full production at the mine and is targeting maximum output. The company recently signed an agreement with the government that will allow it to mine gold and other minerals within a 2,500-square kilometer area for 30 years. Working through PT. Agincourt Resources, its Indonesian subsidiary, it is continuing exploratory drilling.

Operations at the mine were temporarily forced to a halt last September when G-Resources was to install a 2.7-kilometer pipe that would have carried waste from the mine directly into the Batang Toru River, the main watersource for surrounding communities.

MINE EXPLORATION ALREADY HARMING HABITAT FOR TIGERS AND ORANGUTANS

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The mine lies within a “peninsula” of forest protruding from the southern end of the Batang Toru forest. This particular area has special importance for conservation because it is habitat for species representing both north and south Sumatra, including 15 globally threatened animals, including critically endangered Sumatran tigers and orangutans as well as 60 other near-threatened species.

Furthermore, the presence of the mine has become a trigger for uncontrolled land speculation and highest deforestation rates over the last decade have been occurring near the mine site.

Currently the mine is seeking to expand activities further into critical orangutan habitat in neighboring districts, including into areas that have protected status! These planned expansions are further threatening the existence of the Batang Toru forest, its unique wildlife, as well as the communities living around this forest.