Govt to allow geothermal mining activities in conserved forests

The government will soon issue a presidential decree to allow the opening of conserved forests across the country for geothermal mining activities, a senior official says.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said Thursday that the 2009 mineral and coal mining law has opened ample room to utilize conserved areas for geothermal mining, but the detailed rules had to be regulated through a presidential decree.

“Around 80 percent of our geothermal reserves are located in conserved forests. We’re now waiting for the completion of a presidential decree on underground mining activities, because geothermal mining is included in that mining type,” he told reporters in his office in Jakarta as quoted by detikFinance news portal.

He continued that geothermal mining activities were environmentally friendly, so they would not destruct conserved forests.

“The presidential decree has been completed, but still has to wait for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s signature,” said Zulkifli.

The government has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to develop geothermal energy as one alternative to reduce dependency on oil-based fuels.

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