Environmental News Archive

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315 words
23 December 2003
Asia Pulse
(c) 2003 Asia Pulse Pte Limited

JAKARTA, Dec 23 Asia Pulse - Indonesia will continue banning seasand exports to Singapore before the two countries' border problems are settled, a cabinet minister said yesterday.

"We will continue banning seasand exports to Singapore before conclusive talks on the two countries' border are held," Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Rokhmin Dahuri said at a function marking the issuance of his ministry's year-end report.

He said no serious border talks had been held by the two countries so far, adding that Singapore had always refused to conduct them after it carried out large-scale sea reclamation using sand from the Indonesian province of Riau to increase that country's territory that would likely shift the two countries' existing borderlines.

"Singapore has constantly refused to discuss the borderline issue," he said.

He said although Indonesia had banned exports of sea sand, Singapore was continuing its reclamation project osetensibly with sand from its own territory.

"This must be checked. Where did the sand it is using really come from," he said.

Rokhmin said the government had stopped the sand mining activity after it had gone on for more than 20 years.

He said his ministry had now zoned areas for sand mining and coordinated with other offices concerned to watch for possible theft of sand.

He said in case sand exports were later reopened the ministry of trade had already increased the price from only US$1.5 to US$3 per cubic meter.

However, he said a decision to reopen seasand exports should be made after a careful study of the possible advantages and disadvantages.

"People's opinions should also be taken into account," he said.

"As long as no agreement has been reached on the two countries' borderlines, the moratorium on seasand exports will continue and we will monitor its enforcement," the minsiter said.