The Separi Mining Site owned by Sakari Resources produces two brands of thermal coal in a multi-pit operation. The site covers more than 12,000 hectare and is located near to Samarinda, the Capital City of East Kalimantan Province in Indonesia.
When mining began in the area, very little consideration was given to the issue of water management; it simply wasn’t thought of as an important aspect of production. Over the years, a lot of ad hoc work has been done in an attempt to realign the river stream and normalise the river. This unplanned and ‘makeshift’ approach, combined with the sheer destructive power of water, has caused a variety of problems relating to water conservation and utilisation, which have increased in scale and intensity as mining operations have expanded in the area.
Sudasi Harsono, Resident Manager, explains how the problems happen: “Unfortunately, some of the upstream mining companies simply don’t care about the environmental impact of their operations and how it affects the communities living in the area. For instance, improper drainage systems from pits causes significant river water pollution, which in turn affects the drinking water supply for local people. This is a cause of huge concern for us as we do not want to harm local people in this way. It became clear to us that a proper water management plan and design was required as a matter of urgency.
“We felt this was especially important because village irrigation located at the confluence of Separi Kiri and Separi Kanan is in a flood prone area. When high river discharge has occurred, some parts of this area have been inundated for a considerable period of time. Added to that, during the dry seasons when the river decreases, the area suffers water stresses, as the supply is so reduced. The mining activities upstream also increase the rate of sediment transport in the Separi Anak Rivers. We decided that these problems – floods, droughts and heavy sedimentation – should be addressed through river improvements and water quality control.”
In order to put an effective water management plan in place, JMB commissioned Mitra Lingkungan Dutaconsult (MLD), in partnership with Royal HaskoningDHV Indonesia, to provide consultancy services, marking the first time these companies have collaborated. The scope of the project included the establishment of a Water Masterplan (2012-2017) and the detailed design for the plan year 2012, to support JMB developments at the Separi Site.
Over the long term, JMB would require similar consultancy services to supervise the physical implementation of the required water management infrastructure during 2012 – 2017, together with the periodical monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Water Masterplan.
Pramono Saleh, Royal HaskoningDHV’s Project Manager, outlines the project in more detail: “The project area covered the whole JMB Separi Site and the Coal Handling Facility (CHF) site (located on the left side of Mahakam River). The recommendations which came out of our studies were used to formulate the Water Masterplan (2012 to 2017).
“During 2011, we supported JMB to undertake a Water Management Conceptual Design of the Separi River system, taking into consideration important issues, including; draining an inundated pit, into which local people had diverted excess water; river management in the existing mining area; and river normalisation in the downstream area, to avoid the flooding of irrigated paddy fields.
“The results of our study were confirmed in February 2012, when the Water Masterplan was put in place. We have since been awarded the next phase of the project – which covers the implementation of the Masterplan and will be an on-going piece of work.”
JMB was delighted with the work Royal HaskoningDHV undertook, as Sudasi explains: “Royal HaskoningDHV was an obvious choice, due to its expertise and extensive experience of water management in locations across the globe. We were very impressed with the way they undertook this project, which was at times quite challenging. It was obvious from the very start just how much expertise the team bought to the project and we are delighted to continue working with Royal HaskoningDHV.”
Effective water management benefits the surrounding areas and communities by:
- preventing inundations and floods
- safeguarding the local economy by protecting paddy fields and other crops
- improving health by protecting the drinking water supply.