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23 Aug 2019

Environmental Justice Atlas

Indonesia: Indigenous groups allege abuses of rights by Vale's nickel mining activity

See all tags Allegations

"Karonsi'e Dongi people and Vale mine in Sorowako, Sulawesi, Indonesia", 20 March 2019

PT Inco (now belonging to Vale Indonesia) began exploring Sorowako’s nickel in 1968...According to the organization AMAN, during the mining exploration activities, Inco/Vale have committed many violations. Indigenous communities such as the Karonsi'e Indigenous community, have lost their traditional land and livelihoods, including fruit tree groves. In 1957, the predominately christian Karonsi’e Dongi people were forced to flee their homes to avoid being killed by rebels seeking to establish an Islamic state following Indonesia’s independence. Before the Karonsi’e Dongi... returned to their ancestral lands, the Indonesian President signed a contract with the mining company giving it the rights to extract nickel on the island of Sulawesi. The Karonsi’e Dongi received no compensation for their lost lands and... were not involved in land negotiations, or any community consent process... According to numerous studies, the mining project has caused a large number of social, ecological and economic damages... [Investigations by Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Indigenous Sorowako Association] reported that "there are several positive correlations between air pollution levels, dust fall accumulation in households, and health conditions typically found in nickel industrial areas suggested a potential human health impact of mining and smelting”... Studies demonstrate how the women are affected by [the mine]... The company has taken land and natural resources that is used to sustain the community's livelihood, and therefore, women have to work harder. Some local women have become "contract wives." ...[A] situation where migrant workers at a mining operation marry a local woman then leave her and the area once their contract is over. Some women, many of them newcomers to the area, have become sex workers... there is more violence against women.