July 10, 2020 / 9:27 AM / a month ago

Indonesia group seeks judicial review over new mining law

FILE PHOTO: An excavator loads soil onto a truck at PT Timah's open pit mine in Pemali, Bangka island, Indonesia, July 25, 2019. REUTERS/Fransiska Nangoy/File Photo

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A group made up of activists and regional officials submitted on Friday a request for a judicial review of Indonesia’s mining law at the Constitutional Court, arguing there had been a failure of procedures before the law was approved by parliament in May.

The group, which includes the governor of Indonesia’s main tin mining region Bangka Belitung province, believe the bill failed to comply with a number of law-making rules, their representatives said.

Indonesia, a top global exporter of thermal coal, tin, nickel and copper, is seeking to boost investment in the country’s mining sector by removing red tape and streamlining regulations through the new mining law.

A judicial review was being requested because the public, regional governments and state-controlled companies had not been involved in deliberation of the bill, said Ahmad Redi, a lawyer representing the group.

“This clearly violated the openness principle in the legislation process that should be transparent,” Redi said in a statement.

Fajar Laksono, a spokesman for the Constitutional Court, said the court had received the request and would need to check whether the request was in order before it could consider scheduling a hearing.

Marwan Batubara, one of the plaintiffs, told Reuters the group is also planning to submit a second request for a judicial review that will focus on the content of the law.

Under the new mining law, miners are allowed to extend permits and seek an expansion of mining areas beyond the previous legal limits.

The changes have sparked opposition from transparency watchdogs and rights groups, and also concerns about the environmental impact of allowing larger mining areas as well as supervision issues associated with moving authority away from regional governments to the capital.

Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Ed Davies

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