Photo: An open-cut mine in Leard State Forest, Australia. Coal mines like this would wreak havoc if excavated in Borneo’s lush rainforests. Credit: Leard State Forest / Flickr
Two Australian mining companies, BHP Billiton and Cokal, are planning to bulldoze and clear an ancient Indonesian rainforest in Borneo to turn into massive open-cut coal mines.
The proposed project is one of 14 developments that global environmental watchdog Greenpeace is calling “the worst of the worst” – 14 projects that, if carried out as planned, will irreparably push the planet’s climate over the edge.
Open-cut coal mining involves huge amounts of deforestation and excavation of a wide area, which would leave perviously fertile forest a barren and bald pit kilometres wide.
The Borneo rainforest targeted for development is currently home to many vulnerable and endangered species like orangutans, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros, clouded leopards and sun bears. Borneo has one of the last remaining expanses of ancient rainforests in Southeast Asia. Since 2005, an average of three new species have been discovered in these rainforests every month.
Mining developments in the area would mean the extinction of countless species and ecosystems unique to the region. Indeed, the BHP Billiton and Cokal plan would locate the biggest open-cut coal mine mere kilometres away from where the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation has just released 100 orangutans back into the wild.
Local environmental groups say that previous mining projects have been disastrous for their communities. Mines in the area have polluted rivers and groundwater reserves, eroded precious land, and have caused increased floods and thrown local populations into poverty.
BHP Billiton and Cokal are close to signing an agreement with the Indonesian government to make their mining projects a reality – you can help sway the debate to the side of the rainforest and its inhabitants and surrounding communities by signing this petition on SumOfUs.org urging them to reconsider devastating the Borneo rainforest.
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