Manokwari SAR team reveals illegal gold mining activities in Arfak Mountains

Illegal Gold Mining
Illustration of illegal gold mining activity in Wasirawi Village, Masni District, Manokwari Regency. - Jubi/Arnold Kapisa

Manokwari, Jubi – Illegal mining activities in West Papua continue amid the government’s effort to manage natural resources sustainably. Recently, illegal gold mining activities in the Arfak Mountains have been revealed after a team from the Manokwari Search and Rescue (SAR) Office carried out a mission to save one mine worker who was reportedly sick in the mine.

Head of Manokwari SAR Office I Wayan Suyatna said in a press statement on Sunday, August 21, 2022, that his party evacuated one illegal gold mining worker in Minyambouw District, Arfak Mountains, based on a request for assistance received by the SAR Office on Saturday night.

“The office received a report requesting assistance in evacuating one mine worker who was in a sick condition. After receiving the report, the team moved and evacuated the victim for treatment at the Manokwari SAR clinic,” he said.

Furthermore, on Saturday night, Manokwari SAR also received a report about a Toyota Hilux car that had an accident in the Minyambouw District. “The car plunged into a 75-meter deep ravine in Minyambouw District resulting in one death, while two others survived. The evacuation process was carried out this Sunday morning,” said I Wayan Suyatna.

Arfak Mountains Police chief Comr. Isaac Hosio had yet to give information when Jubi tried to confirm the illegal gold mining activities in the area. “I am on my way to Arfak Mountains, I will inform you about your question later,” he said in a text message.

Illegal mining in the Arfak Mountains and Manokwari had become a concern of the local government and law enforcement officials. Yet various efforts made have not had a deterrent effect on illegal workers and mining financiers in these two regions.

Acting Governor of West Papua Paulus Waterpauw had encouraged the formation of a task force to handle illegal gold mining in West Papua but until now, the task force has not been formed.

Efforts to curb illegal gold mining in the Arfak Mountains and Manokwari Regency have also been carried out by the West Papua Police. To date, up to 31 defendants are currently facing trial at the Manokwari District Court. (*)

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