Padang, West Sumatra (ANTARA) - The West Sumatra Regional Police formed a special team for examining all existing mining permits in the local area after an explosion at a coal mining pit in Sawahlunto that claimed 10 lives on Friday.

West Sumatra Regional Police Chief Inspector General Suharyono remarked that the coal mining explosion incident prompted his side to plan to inspect all existing mining permits in the region to minimize similar incidents.

"(This is) not only limited to coal mines but gold mines or other similar businesses in West Sumatra will also be inspected. This incident has opened up everything, and this is a good start for us to get data on licensed mining in this area," he noted in Padang, on Saturday.

Along with the West Sumatra Provincial Government, the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, and other parties, the police will ensure that all mining activities in the region are legal.

Suharyono emphasized that he would not provide convenience or allow unlicensed mining to operate since this would allow several illegal mines to operate for the sake of the people's livelihood.

"We want to protect companies that already have permits and ensure there will be no mining business operating without a complete permit or illegally," he remarked.

Suharyono is keen to ensure that members of the community do not fall victims if his side immediately shuts down the mine without considering the logical consequences of this action.

"We cannot satisfy all parties, but I can make sure that only legal mines can operate in West Sumatra," he emphasized.

In addition, the West Sumatra Regional Police will form a special team under the Special Criminal Investigation Directorate to examine and collect data on the legality of the mining business in West Sumatra.

He noted that there were several methods to handle illegal mining in West Sumatra by halting their activities without confiscating the tools and asking them to arrange permits.

The second point that Suharyono brought up was that if they were to persist, then they would be given a warning and if they are still operating, then in that case strict legal action will be taken.

"We will ask the company to obtain permits before operating in the region," he stated.

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Translator: Mario Sofia N, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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