Published: Thursday 31 January 2002

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (icg) recently indicated that exploitation of Indonesia's vast natural resources was spinning out of control. And in a bid to check overexploitation of tin and coal, Indonesia's mines and energy minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has asked the government to make tin and coal strategic commodities. It means that the government will now be required by law to closely monitor production and ensure output benefits to the state.

A letter has been written to trade and industry minister R Soewandi in this connection. Djoko Darmono, secretary general of the mines and energy ministry, says: "We need legal powers to take tough action against illegal miners, so that only authorised companies can do the mining."

By classifying tin and coal as strategic commodities, the authorities would have a stronger legal basis to take action against the culprits.

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