Indonesia | Weda Bay : Weda Bay Nickel
Weda Bay Nickel plans to mine nickel and copper from open pits in protected forest areas on Halmahera Island, North Maluku, Indonesia.
The project threatens the lands and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and other communities.
Clean Rivers and Ocean, Threatened
The mine would pollute rivers and the ocean with sediment and toxic chemicals. It would dump mineral processing waste into the shallow waters of Weda Bay. And sediment from eroded soil would also end up in the Bay.
The area has coral reefs and is a source of fish for many communities that could see their catch disappear or polluted.
Protected Forests, Destroyed
The roads and facilities, tailings storage area, and mine pits for the project will destroy thousands of hectares of tropical forest. Some of this would normally be off-limits for mining.
The mining activities would also fragment the only forest corridor between sections of the Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park, and were once proposed to be part of the Park themselves.
The planned mining area is still part of the proposed buffer zone for the Park. The forest are also the lands of the Forest Tobelo Indigenous Peoples. And the forests represent important habitat for a number of endemic and protected species.
World Bank Support -- Granted for Feasibility Studies
The companies in Weda Bay Nickel -- Eramet, Mitsubishi, and PT Antam -- have successfully sought support from the World Bank for the project.
In spite of the damaging impacts of the project, the project assessment and impacts that violate World Bank Performance Standards, and the findings of independent reports commissioned by EARTHWORKS and the Bank Information Center, the World Bank approved support for the "exploration and feasbility phase" of the project.
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is to provide a guarantee for the project but has not yet signed a contract. They may be convinced that the project would violate their Performance Standards and that they need to cancel it.
Indonesian community and advocacy groups JATAM (Mining Advocacy Network), WALHI, KIARA, and KAU have formed an international coalition to oppose the project and the Bank's support of it.
The groups explained:
"We are against all involvement from multilateral financial institutions in financing and providing guarantee for extractive industrial projects in Indonesia. MIGA and the World Bank should cancel their plan to give political risk guarantee for this dangerous project. Not only because the mine created threats for the safety of the people and the ecosystem on the island of Halmahera; but also because one of its shareholders - PT Antam was notorious and ha[s a] bad record for both environmental damage and human rights breach[es]."
For more information:
- Earthworks: Press release
- Earthworks: Independent technical review. Dr. Robert Moran.
- Earthworks: Supplemental review of biodiversity impacts.
- Earthworks: Coalition letter to the World Bank
- Information from WAHLI and JATAM