IRGSC Research  Paper
Working Paper 12
ISSN 2339-0638
Understanding risk and benefits of Informal (Artisanal small-scale) mining of manganese  by peasants in Indonesia: A study
on resource management and livelihood options in Kupang and TTS, West Timor, NTT, Indonesia

http://irgsc.org/pubs/wp/IRGSCWP012-ntt-artisanal-mining.pdf

WP No: Working Paper No. 12

Title: Understanding risk and benefits of Informal (Artisanal small-scale) mining of manganese  by peasants in Indonesia: A
study on resource management and livelihood options in Kupang and TTS, West Timor, NTT, Indonesia

Keywords: food security, Informality, manganese mining, peasants, , OBAMA, livelihoods, resource management

Author(s): Maxi Julians Rihi Dara

Corresponding email:  maxi.rihidara at gmail.com

Date: November 2014

Link:
      
Abstract:

The rapid expansion of manganese mining in West Timor has raised a debate on whether the mining is a boon or peril for
the local people. Many local peasants have shifted their livelihood from agriculture subsistence to artisanal small-scale
mining (ASM) of the manganese. This cash based economy has benefited the local people to some extent, including cash
for foods and basic goods. However, the high demand of the ore, poor skills as well as legal uncertainty have led to massive
environmental degradation, loss of human lives, illegal trading and social unrest. ASM activities are common in developing
countries around the world, from Asia to Africa, which are struggling with poverty issues, lack of alternative livelihoods, poor
education, and legal uncertainty. Decentralisation has created huge pressure on the local government to increase revenue
to balance the growing expenditures of East Nusa Tenggara (Nusa Tenggara TimurNTT). NTT is listed as one of the poorest
provinces in Indonesia. The income per capita of this province is less than one fourth of the national average. This province
is also prone to natural disasters such as droughts, flooding, typhoons, and fires which make this area have a long history of
food insecurity. The province is well-endowed in manganese resources, and mining this mineral is considered by the local
government to be one of the ways to potentially boost economic growth. The objective of the research is to explore how the
manganese mining in West Timor has benefitted the local peasants and to provide recommendations for policy makers in
formulating policy intervention. This research used a qualitative method in which primary data has been derived from
fieldwork and secondary data was gathered from literature. The semi structured interviews with the six groups of
respondents (local community, local Government, NGOs/CSOs, academia, church leaders and media) pointed out that ASM
has the potential to provide economic benefits for the local people if it is managed sustainably. Therefore, immediate policy
interventions to ensure fair price, legal certainty, and community empowerment are necessary to mitigate the negative
environmental and socio-economic impacts