Bintan, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - Bauxite mining on the islands of Angkut, Dendang and Bukit Batu in Bintan District, Riau Islands Province, still continue despite a ban on mining activities on small islands.

Head of the Production Forest Management Unit of Bintan and Tanjungpinang Ruwa said here on Sunday, the inspection conducted by the Environment and Forestry Ministry`s team has yet to reach the islands.

However, the team already has the names of the mining companies in the region.

"I do not know, why they still continue the bauxite mining activities there," Ruwa said.

In fact, bauxite mining in Bukit Batu is operated not far from the Bintan District administration`s office and the mining firm CV Gemilang has passed the main road to transport bauxite to the port and sell it to PT Gunung Bintan Abadi.

"They (mining firms) are not allowed to use the public road to transport bauxite," he noted.

Earlier, the ministry`s Director of Forest Preservation Sustyo Iriyono said, no bauxite mining is allowed on small islands.

The ministry has sealed some mining sites and would further leave the case to a legal process.

"We have the names of five companies that operate in 19 mining sites. The legal process of the case could be conducted in Jakarta or in Riau Islands," he said.

Bauxite mining activities have escalated since the Directorate General of Foreign Trade of the Trade Ministry issued an export license to PT Gunung Bintan Abadi to export bauxite, with certain criteria.

The export license was issued thereafter in 2017. The Riau Islands governor issued a mining license for the company, with a production quota of 1.6 million tons.

The company has worked jointly with other firms to achieve the target and conduct exports to China.

Antara previously reported that bauxite mining could be found in Dendang Island, Tembeling, Bekung, Gisi, Bunut Island, Koyang Island, Buton Island, Malin Island, Kelong Island, Mantang lama, and Tembora Island.

The areas have suffered serious environment damage.

Reporting by Nikolas Panama
Editing by Sri Haryati/Suharto

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Reporter: Antara
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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