Coal miners owe the Indonesian government hundreds of millions of dollars

Indonesia is now one of the world’s largest exporters of coal, an industry that contributes around four percent of the country’s gross domestic product mostly through exports to China and India. Despite its massive size, however, observers are concerned that the sector’s actual contribution to the public treasury — in the form of taxes and royalties — is not nearly enough to balance out the social and environmental impacts of coal extraction. According to data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties and taxes owed to the government remain unpaid. The government often lacks key information it needs to collect the revenues owed to it, even down to the addresses of mining companies’ offices. Indonesia’s decentralization era, beginning in the early 2000s, saw a shift in control over extractive industries from central to regional governments. The most significant law for the mining sector was the 2009 Mining Law, which gave district and municipal governments the authority to issue permits for mid-sized mines.

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