"We are going to consult with the provincial government on this matter immediately," Parigi Moutong district deputy head Badrun Nggai told local journalists here.
Nggai said the illegal gold mining sites are still operational in the neighborhoods of Kayuboko, Tinombo Selatan, Lambunu, and Buranga. Unregulated miners are continuing to exploit the areas using heavy equipment, he added.
The district government ordered a temporary halt of unregulated gold mining activities in Buranga village, Ampibabo sub-district, Central Sulawesi province after a landslide hit the area on Wednesday (February 24, 2021).
The decision was made in consultation with the Central Sulawesi provincial and central governments and the deliberations also covered whether or not the unregulated gold mining sites in Parigi Moutong district should be completely terminated, Nggai said.
"We issued a temporary closure while finding the best solution for local communities," he added.
Illegal mining activities have oftentimes been blamed to contribute to environmental damage, resulting in landslides and flash floods in several parts of Indonesia.
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has also drawn attention to the need for curbing illegal gold mining activities to prevent the recurrence of natural disasters.
During his visit to Banjar Irigasi village in Lebak Gedong sub-district, Lebak district, Banten province on January 7, 2020, President Widodo had asked the local authorities to put a halt to illegal gold mining.
He had contended that illegal mining activities had fueled deforestation in Banten province and needed to be thwarted to prevent flash floods in future.
"In Lebak district, Banten, we can see forest encroachment for illegal mining. I have ordered the governor and district head to stop this," Widodo remarked in Banjar Irigasi village, Lebak Gedong sub-district, in Banten on January 7, 2021.
Flash floods that struck Lebak district last year claimed 10 lives, damaged 19 schools in six districts, and wrecked 1,410 houses. (INE)
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