Last chance to save Kutai National Park from Churchill Mining's greasy mits!
There's a national park in East Kalimantan called Kutai. It's home to most of the remaining moreo orangutans in Indonesia (approx 4,825), 10 other primates, as well as other critically endangered mammals and birds.
Underneath Kutai is about 38 mega tonnes of coal, which a British conglomerate called Churchill Mining (1) claim to have the rights to. The only thing is, they acquired their license from ex-president Suharto's son-in-law, General Subianto. Subianto's famed for ordering the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre where over 250 East Timorese civilians and foreign jounalists were machine gunned to death. Anyway, the massacre caused international condemnation and partly led to the fall of Suharto's 'New Order' regime.
With Suharto out, the new elected government created a decentralised Indonesia where resources were managed locally instead of by a few Generals and political leaders in Jakarta. Subianto's/Churchill's license therefore became invalid and was dissolved in 2011 by the Provincial Government of East Kalimantan.
This month, after losing their case at a tribunal in Jakarta, Churchill and their economic heavy weight investors (Goldman Sachs, Blackrock, Barclays Bank) are taking the claim to the World Bank's arbitration court in Washington.
Churchill Mining have enough money in the bank to litigate for years. They don't care that mining in a protected park is illegal. There are loads of these dubious licenses and a victory for Churchill will open the flood gates to massive forest clearances across Indonesia and other countries with economically weak governments that can't afford the years of litigation that these multinational mining consortia can.
Churchill think they can use the media to promote their claim that Indonesia is 'not playing fair' (2), but with enough opposition, they might back down or the Indonesian judges will deliver an unfavourable verdict for them.
This petition will be delivered to the investment banks above, their legal representatives at Herbert Smith LLP., as well as the Indonesian High Court in Jakarta.
I hope you can help.
I appreciate the decision of the Indonesian High Court to revoke Churchill Mining PLC's permit to carry out mining on the fringes of Kutai National Park. An open-cut mine in the National Park has a direct negative impact on the eco-system of this conservation area.
The Kutai National Park is an important habitat of the Bornean orangutans and many other endangered animal species. A mining project of this scale with direct influence on the intactness of the Kutai National Park endangers the survival of these species. It is with great concern that I observe the pending case between Churchill Mining PLC and the Indonesian state regarding mining permit for the East Kutai Coal Project.
I hereby ask Churchill to stop all mining projects within and on the fringes of the Kutai National Park.
I also ask the Indonesian government
- not to issue any more permits for this area
- to establish and respect an indefeasible conservation status for the Kutai national park and all other Indonesian national parks as the biosphere of a unique and endangered flora and fauna and not to allow economic projects to endanger this status
- to rigorously prosecute any infringement of the conservation status.