We have agreed to close the illegal mining locations through firm and measured actions.
Manokwari, W Papua (ANTARA) - Investment Minister and head of the Investment Coordinating Board Bahlil Lahadalia has asked the provincial government to shut down illegal gold mines in Manokwari and Pegunungan Arfak Districts of West Papua.

He made the request after holding a limited coordination meeting of the Investment Task Force with the ranks of West Papua and Manokwari and Pegunungan Arfak district governments, military, as well as police here on Wednesday.

"(According to) the information we received from the community as well as the heads of Manokwari District and Pegunungan Arfak District, illegal mining is occurring in the regions,” he noted.

Hence, his ministry has asked the provincial government to immediately take action, considering that the mines do not have any permits and are located in a conservation area.

Based on the results of the coordination meeting, the closure of the illegal mines would be carried out as soon as possible, he added.

The attempt will be led directly by the acting governor of West Papua, Paulus Waterpauw.

“We have agreed to close the illegal mining locations through firm and measured actions," the minister informed.

Meanwhile, the acting governor said that he will set up a task force for handling illegal gold mining activities soon.

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"We will discuss (the matter) quickly, (and) prepare the steps which must be taken to solve the problem, (thus) a task force will be formed and headed by the two district heads," he added.

He said he expects the task force to initiate a meeting with the owners of customary rights over the lands used as mining sites.

In addition, the task force will take firm action against the utilization of heavy equipment at the sites since it is prohibited, Waterpauw added.

He appealed to all owners of customary land rights to carefully consider before allowing any party to use their area for illegal mining since such activities can harm the environment and endanger surrounding residents.

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Translator: Evarianus Supar, Uyu Liman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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