Southeast Asian Studies section

International Workshop on Mining in Passau from 24-26 October 2018

What is the future of mining in Indonesia? International Workshop on Mining in Passau


During the workshop “Mining and Energy in Indonesia. Juggling Future Needs and Sustainability” which took place from the 24-26 October 2018 at the University of Passau, Germany, twelve scholars and activists from Australia, Germany, Indonesia and Singapore discussed the nexus of mining, energy and sustainable futures in Indonesia.

With the aim to bring together participants from academia and from civil society organisations, in this transdisciplinary workshop, actors with various backgrounds not only exchanged information and knowledge but also planned joined action for the future.

The extraction of coal and ore still forms a crucial source of export income for Indonesia. However, on the one hand, local communities tend to be critical as they experience fierce struggles over land, the pollution of their environment and poor working conditions that endanger their livelihoods. Moreover, profit and tax revenues are mostly channelled to local and national elites whereas local development is neglected. On the other hand, many community members in mining areas live in a patron-client relationship with the companies and the company provides, as an ‘agent of development’, income opportunities and village infrastructure - responsibilities that are not taken on by the state.

Comparing Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Eastern Indonesia, we discussed not only new developments in the legal framework of mining and decentralization but also repertoires of protest and possible counter-measurements such as indigenous land management schemes. Protest and programs in some cases successfully minimized negative impacts of mining but never stopped destructive exploitation. However, in most presented cases communities faced fierce struggles on land, environmental destruction and social disruption due to mining activities. Sustainable mining is thus due to intransparency, corruption, and the weak implementation of laws (still) in distant future.

In order to mitigate negative consequences of future mining activities, the participants plan to conduct future workshops in 2019 in Central Kalimantan in order to provide information about the expansions of the mega mining project Adaro Met Coal and to try to bring together conflicting parties to discuss possible pathways towards more social just and environmentally friendly mining activities.


The workshop was organized by Dr. Kristina Großmann of the University of Passau, who is an Assistant Professor at the Chair of Comparative Development and Cultural Studies with Focus Southeast Asia and project leader of „FuturEN- Governance, Identities and Future along Categories of Differentiation. The Case of Coal Mining in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia“. Cooperating partners were Prof. Dr. Maribeth Erb of the National University of Singapore and Anna Fünfgeld of the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, GIGA, Hamburg and the Southeast Asian Studies program at Freiburg University, Germany.

Participants were Luthfi Bakhtiar (Project leader of Friends of the Earth (WALHI), Indonesia), Alessandro Gullo (MA student Development Studies, University of Passau, Germany), Dr. Marko Mahin (Universitas Kristen, Palangkaraya, Indonesia), Siti Maimunah (University of Passau; Mining Advocacy Network Indonesia (JATAM), Prof. Dr. Martina Padmanabhan (University of Passau, Germany), Prof. Dr. Semiarto Aji Purwanto (University of Indonesia), Prof. Dr. Kathryn Robinson (Australian National University), Meta Septalisa (Member of Friends of the Earth (WALHI), Indonesia) and Enid Still (University of Passau, Germany).

| 28.11.2018