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In the pictures. Extraction of tin from the sea in Indonesia | Indonesian news


From the shores of the Indonesian island of Bangka, miners like Hendra sail daily on the shore with a fleet of rough-hewn wooden pillars equipped to clear the seabed of land for lucrative reserves of tin ore.

Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of tin, used in everything from food packaging to electronics to green technologies.

But the mines in the Bangka-Belitung mining center have been massively exploited on land, leaving some of the islands off the southeast coast of the island of Sumatra with huge lunar-like craters and highly acidic, turquoise lakes.

Instead, the miners turn to the sea.

“Our income on the ground is declining. “There are no more resources,” said Hendra, 51, who spent nearly a year in the industry after a decade working in the offshore tin industry.

“There are many more resources in the ocean.”

Often grouped around underwater tin seams, seamless pontoon camps emit black smoke from diesel generators that rumble so loudly that workers use hand gestures to communicate.

Hendra, which uses the same name as many Indonesians, operates six pontoons, each with three to four workers, և pipes that can be more than 20 meters (66 feet) long to suck sand from the seabed.

Pump ri և sand pump mixture passes through a bed of plastic mats, which traps the sparkling black sand containing tin ore.

Hendra is one of a number of artisans working with PT Timah to exploit state mining privileges.

Miners pay about 70,000-80,000 rupees ($ 4.90 – $ 5.60) for each kilogram of tin sand they pump, and the pontoon typically produces about 50 kilograms a day, Hendra said.

Timah boosts sea production. The company shows that last year its proven stockpile of tin was 16,399 tonnes, compared to 265,913 tonnes offshore.

The huge increase, coupled with illegal miners targeting offshore mines, has heightened tensions with fishermen who say their prey has collapsed since 2014 due to persistent encroachments on their fishing grounds.

Anvar, a fisherman, said that his family used to earn enough money to pay for his two younger siblings to go to university, but in recent years they have had little time to scratch them.

“Going to university at the same time makes it difficult to buy food these days,” said Apriadi, 45, who lives in the village of Batu Perahu.

Apriadi says fishing nets can become entangled in offshore mining equipment as they tangle the seabed to find ore seams that have polluted once pristine water.

“The fish are becoming scarce because the corals where they lay their eggs are now covered in mud from the mine,” he added.

The Indonesian environmental group Walhi has struggled to stop mining at sea, especially off the west coast of Bangkok, where mangroves are relatively well preserved.





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