Bangka Protest at New Mining Law

BEIJING, Feb. 22 -- Small-scale miners on Bangka island are concerned that they may not be allowed to mine tin because some clauses in Indonesia's new mining and coal law, passed in December 2008, conflict with local government regulations. Rudi, vice chairman of Association of Traditional Miners in Bangka, told Reuters: "There are too many overlapping regulations. We ask the local government to push for revisions in the new mining law," he said after about 300 miners gathered in front of West Bangka legislative council building in Mentok.

Under the new law, traditional miners are allowed to mine on river banks, whereas such mining in rivers is banned by the local government, Rudi said. The new mining law also only gives miners the right to apply for a mining permit in a minimum area of 5,000 hectares, whereas traditional miners tend to work much smaller areas. "This rule would allow only a handful of people to have mining business," Rudi said.

Markus, deputy speaker of the West Bangka legislative council said the council would help lobby the Bangka-Belitung provincial council for a revision of the new mining law.