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Universitas Bangka Belitung's Article
21 Desember 2010 | 08:41:21 WIB


The Detriment of Coral Reef Ecosystem in Bangka Island as the Result of the Off Shore Tin Mining by Suction Dredger


Ditulis Oleh : Indra Ambalika Syari, S.Pi

Tin mining has been more than 300 years ago in Bangka Island. Starting from the mainland, tin mining begins to move into the sea. It grows to be extensive and semi-intensive recently. Since the Act No. 22 of 1999 on Regional Government (regional autonomy) and the Minister of Industry and Commerce Decree No. 146/MPP/Kep/4/1999 regarding the revocation of tin as a strategic commodity was emerged, unconventional tin mining scattered throughout Bangka Island. Nowadays, not only unconventional tin mining and its modifications float in the sea but also suction dredger increases into a large number.

People of Bangka Island have realized this condition as well. The difficulties in finding the location of mainland which is rich in tin, the results of mining on land continue to decline, and the operational costs increase, make people and tin companies divert their mining priorities. Floating unconventional mining, suction dredger and dredger are the important means of tin mining in the sea. Suction dredger with its greater mobility, effective working process, affordable price and the promising mining results is the most effective and efficient one. No wonder in a short time, the number of this kind of ship increases rapidly. The mining process such this way is being trend and will continue to grow in coming years. It will issue bad impact for either people or environment if the local government doesn't act firmly in regulating and maintaining the other sea natural resources after tin discharged.

The suction dredgers began to develop in 2006 and reached on top in 2008. Both the private tin companies (smelter) and PT. Timah Tbk, the biggest tin company in Indonesia and number two in the world, use this kind of ship actively. PT. Timah Tbk buys, builds up the ship and cooperates with its partners to compete with others. It has owned more than 50 ships currently. The Decree of the regional head for offshore tin mining permit continues to emerge especially during the recent local election. Unfortunately, the increase of the suction dredgers does not directly proportional to the control. Based on the result of satellite monitoring from Maritime Security Coordinating Board, there were about 100% of suction dredgers operated outside the certain territorial waters of Bangka Belitung (Bangka Post, 9 November 2008).

Where does the suction dredger in Bangka Island come from?


This intriguing question would be fair to ask because the suction dredger is a newcomer to the world's tin mining in Bangka Island. I've already got the answer couple weeks ago when I talked to my friend who concerns in mining sector of Bangka Belitung. Obviously the suction dredger comes from Thailand, a well-known country for the agricultural commodities. Thailand successes to export not only its agricultural commodities such as big papaya, durian, mango and many more types of fruit but also the suction dredgers. Several years ago, there was total mining in some areas in Thailand either in the land or in the sea. Mineral deposits were mined intensively made those areas no longer potential in the future. However, the Thai government required that all mining companies have budgeted funds to guarantee the post-mining reclamation and rehabilitation. The fund submitted by the mining companies to the government before a mining permit granted was large enough and certainly would be enough to finance both programs so that non-mining potential such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries and tourism would be developed.

After intensive mining was done several years ago and reclamation and rehabilitation program was started and running, the suction dredgers were out of work. Seeing an opportunity to tin mining in Bangka Island, the old suction dredgers were bought by entrepreneurs to mine tin in the sea, cheaper than the need to design with tailings disposal technology that is much more environmentally friendly. No wonder if the used suction dredger must be operated by foreign workers who were also special imported from Thailand. Suction dredger is indeed a commodity offshore of tin mining which is the most effective not only in getting the tin but also in causing damage to vital ecosystems in the sea. Sedimentation from the suction dredger mining activities have caused extensive damage to seagrass ecosystems and coral reef ecosystems which support the fisheries and marine tourism sector as the expectation and the development sector of post-tin.

It is strange indeed if we are able to import the suction dredgers from Thailand to mine tin in our teritory, but we are unable to import the environmental management adopted by the state of this white elephant. Until now, guarantee for the certainty of reclamation and rehabilitation program in our marine ecosystems, a legacy for future generations of this area, is still awaited. We have to admit that a lot of "actors" take advantage of the opportunity of not regularly and specifically the rules of tin mining in the sea. So, do not be surprised if the Decree of the off shore tin mining permit by operating the ex-suction dredgers from Thailand will continue to emerge in Bangka Belitung Province.

When this article was made, there were about 57 suction dredgers or even increased which operated in the offshore of Bangka Island to mine tin in the seabed.

Written for my beloved hometown
Bogor, 29 Juli 2010






more than 35 suction dredgers were operated in the offshore of Penganak, Jebus, West Bangka regency





The activities of suction dredgers in the offshore of Penganak, Jebus, West Bangka regency. Its background location is in Pemuja island




Many coral reefs were damaged in Pemuja Island, Penganak, Jebus, West Bangka regency covered by sediment because of the offshore tin mining




Many coral reefs were damaged in Pemuja Island, Penganak, Jebus, West Bangka regency covered by sediment because of the offshore tin mining




Many coral reefs were covered by sediment in Mengkudu Island, Pesaren village, Belinyu, Bangka regency. Although no suction dredgers and floating unconventional mining operated in this area, the coral reefs were damaged because of the offshore tin mining in the villages nearby the Pesaren village which are Penyusuk village, Batu Atap village, and Bubus village




Many coral reefs were covered by sediment in Mengkudu Island, Pesaren village, Belinyu, Bangka regency. Although no suction dredgers and floating unconventional mining operated in this area, the coral reefs were damaged because of the offshore tin mining in the villages nearby the Pesaren village which are Penyusuk village, Batu Atap village, and Bubus village


Written by : Indra Ambalika Syari, S.Pi


Lecturer of Fisheries Study Program and Leader of Coral Reef Exploration Team of Bangka Belitung University




For detailed activities of Coral Reef Researching Program Team of Bangka Belitung University please click to the link below to our Coral Reef Expedition Page (Translated by Google Translate) :
Coral Reef Expedition Page


Or to the Original Page of Coral Reef Exploration in Indonesian :
Expedisi Terumbu Karang

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