BHP Billiton project may be at risk
In a broadly welcome move, the Indonesian government has introduced a moratorium on the issuing of new permits for forest felling in the country. However, critics say it doesn’t go far enough, and would still allow some damaging palm oil, timber and mining projects to go ahead.
BHP Billiton’s planned new Maruwai coal mine in Kalimantan is, in theory, one of the projects affected by the moratorium. As part of its case for the project, the company has said  it will set aside areas, outside its operations, for compensatory re-afforestation, thus creating what it terms a “net positive impact”. However, as pointed out by the head of an oil palm firm which is also active in Kalimantan: “They say if your area is affected with the moratorium, they will give you another replacement area — come on, let’s be realistic. Everybody is competing for land — who is going to give up their land?”
And, of course, you can’t “swap” mineral deposits as you might be able to do with plantations.