Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara faces environmental problems by manganese mining

20:02, December 11, 2009      

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Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province faces environmental problems where manganese mining has reportedly damaged thousands of hectares of forest, plantations and farmland, the Jakarta Post quoted an activist as saying on Friday.

The deteriorating environment is the result of the failure of reclamation, which is supposed to be caused by miners.

Reverend Sri Ledoh, the service coordinator of the West Fatuleuparish in Timor, said some people, who used to be farmers, have been engaged in manganese mining as they wanted to earn more money.

The manganese mined could be sold for 1,000 rupiah (about 10 U.S. cents) per kilogram.

"The problem is that, firstly, the farmers are not aware of the safety considerations when mining," said Ledoh, adding that four residents of Fatuleu district were buried alive in a tunnel while mining for manganese a few weeks ago.

Secondly, he said, a food crisis may be approaching as the result of the jobs switch.

On top of those, miner's asthma and other respiratory diseases can be contracted by the miners because of inhaling manganese dust for extended periods of time. This can cause impotence. Miner's asthma is very dangerous because it is incurable. The sufferer will die in a very short time.

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