Mainstreaming HCV in the Mining sector: Need to emphasis on developing practical guidelines on HCV management, monitoring and reporting

Mainstreaming HCV in the Mining sector:  Need to emphasis on developing practical guidelines on HCV management, monitoring and reporting

Indonesia - 07 July, 2019

Jakarta, JS Luwansa Hotel, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Dr. Edi Purwanto, Director Yayasan Tropenbos Indonesia (TI), was invited by the Indonesian Business Council on Sustainable Development (IBCSD) to share ideas on efforts to mainstream ecosystem and environment conservation in the mining sector.

In 2018, IBCSD together with ‘Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’ and ‘Burung Indonesia’ has published a Guidelines for Ecosystem and Environmental Conservation in Indonesia for Business World in the Mining Sector (Panduan Konservasi Ekosistem dan Lingkungan di Indonesia Bagi Dunia Usaha di Sektor Tambang). As a follow up, they are going to develop training manuals (modules) on High Conservation Values (HCV) as a tool to conserve ecosystem and environment in the mining areas.

TI highly appreciated with the initiative, indeed mainstreaming HCV implementation in all land-based investments are very important, not only in forestry and agriculture, but also in the mining sector. Considering the nature of dominated open pit mining is very extractive to natural resource degradation and have caused human and natural disasters in many areas in this country. Most recently was severe flood disaster in Konawe Utara District, SE Sulawesi Province where the areas are prone to large-scale traditional land-use conversions at the expense of oil-palm plantation and mining areas.

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However, government has put mining as priority among other land-based investment, and the sector has driven economic growth in several provinces. As such, the inclusion of HCV initiative is a must! Preferably prior, together with Environmental Impact Assessment/AMDAL as key permit (filter) requirements to define ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ business investment, but also need to be inserted on the on-going mining operation. This would be very strategic efforts to address recurrent tremendous disaster at the landscape scale.

The principles of HCV areas designation process which comply on (inter) national law and regulations on biodiversity and environmental management, stakeholder engagement and public consultations and precautionary and landscape approaches would improve transparency of such exclusive land-based business.

For the sake of effectiveness to reach the goal under limited resource, IBCSD needs to emphasis on developing guidelines (training modules) on ‘HCV management, monitoring and reporting’, rather than ‘HCV identification’. The underlined reasons are: (a) There have been a lot of publications on HCV areas identification, which could be readily used, except for guidelines on ‘Public consultation and Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC)’ which needs adjustment on the nature of mining activities; (b) Need to translate ‘theoretical’ HCV management strategies (maintenance, improvement and protection efforts) into doable standard operational procedures (SOPs) at the mining management unit level.

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Key steps on ‘HCV management, monitoring and reporting’ are: (a) Define the conservation and environmental goals of identified HCV areas; (b) Identify the potential threats of each HCV area; (c) Define mitigation strategy to address threats of each HCV area; (d) Include the strategies into practical SOPs at the mining management unit level; (e) Conduct monitoring and evaluation on the effectiveness of each HCV mitigation approach and action; (f) Adjust the strategies and the associated SOPs (if necessary); (g) Report the HCV mitigation efforts and associated adaptation of mining operation (to protect HCV areas) to the government; (h) Promote the best practices HCV management to national and international level.

It was highlighted the importance to manage remaining forest patches, i.e. forested areas with the minimum core area of 100 ha (HCS Guideline, 2016) as multiple HCV areas (possibly contain HCV 1 to 6). It would be best, if several forest patches could be connected to each other to form ecological corridor and spatially linked to larger intact forest landscape nearby. Those acts as natural infrastructure to control the environmental impacts of mining operation and local biodiversity source (source and agent of seeds dispersal) during reclamation, revegetation and other post mining activities (EP).