NNT Boot Camp,Sumbawa – Minding a Mine Site

Submitted by mumunmumun on 5 June 2013   •  Destination   •  Lesser Sunda

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I got really excited following the controversies of my trip with the ‘Sustainable Mining Boot Camp’ held by PT. Newmont Nusa Tenggara (NNT) in west Sumbawa. It was no surprise that there would be many opposing to the idea of tainting Indohoy with such a so-called dirty business. But is it really? Although my motives were questioned, my friendships were on the line, I still went. Vira didn’t mind that I went on behalf of Indohoy anyway. And who knows what I’ll learn at the NNT Boot Camp? Rawr!

The ultimate question: Why would I?

This is my justification. I really do want to see the inside of NNT. During my early working days in mining, I met one of their top mining planners who was involved in the environmental management plan. He was very proud of his work and thus I had to see what he was talking about. So it wasn’t about traveling to find new destinations. Personally speaking, a working mine site is not a tourist’s destination, nor it will ever be. Visitations are to learn about the mine and not to have a picnic, because you seriously wouldn’t want a picnic in a pit.

NNT Boot Camp

Clockwise: A USD 40k tire; the dust is the concentrated copper and gold, Batu Hijau pit.

In my opinion, NNT…

  1. As a multimillion (or maybe billion) dollar business, I’m not surprised with the orderly work culture that they have within the mine site. In fact, I expected it. The safety, programs, heavy machinery and the high cholesterol food platter, were as I figured it would be. Exciting!
  2. I was, however, pretty surprised by the size of the pit. Honestly, I thought it would be at least double the size. Thank God, it isn’t.
  3. Agreed, it’s a destructive business. Considering waste, most of the management decisions seem to be the best alternative for the time being. As best option as the tailing placement in the bottom of the sea is, I doubt that there is no life below. But the science hasn’t caught up to prove it, so there’s not much we can do now.
  4. I expected that they have done a lot for the surrounding area, especially if they didn’t want their business upside down. Also, knowing that today’s investors are smarter and demand an environmental and social friendly business, NNT would have to need no less than an excellent environmental and social responsibility program to keep their investors. I’m not surprised.
  5. NNT has done so much, the function of the government seemed to be overtaken by the company since the people can expect more result from the NNT.
  6. My favorite Social Responsibility programs has to be the ‘trash bank’, where people cash in recyclables or save the money, visiting Mantar village, the location of an NNT-sponsored movie, and reef balls, which corridors two areas of coral separated by sand base. Awesome!
  7. Admittedly, Ibnu and Mufti, my travel mates, were right. There weren’t any programs that we saw which supported the local culture. We didn’t see much cloth weaving, handicrafts, nor souvenir shops selling local goods (thus, no shopping, thank God). We still had some local dishes, which didn’t help my diet since they were so good, but we couldn’t find many venues that provided it or any that was supported by the company. This could be a big point considering there are a lot of acculturation from migrants.

NNT Boot Camp

Mantar Village

To be fair, we haven’t entirely had both sides of the story. We only had so little information obtained about the other half in between our tight schedule. We did get glimpses of hardship considering employment, parties that want to take advantages, issues of transparency, and social matters which were consequences of mass migration. There were more expectation of the big bosses visiting the villages which I think is a small thing to do but is quite significant. It tore me apart when I heard about the many broken families due to the female ‘newcomers’ that parade in hot pants. We’ll have to travel independently for more info of this.

Why is this post here?

When it comes to anything about traveling, it’ll be here. Although I traveled to a mine site, I’ve learned much of the process, people, and area, as much as I would on any of my trips. I’ve seen the consequences of my privileged and convenient way of life. There is nothing in my life that can’t be connected to mining, from every electronic part of my gadgets to every big machine for mass scale production making things affordable. Figuratively, I am a baby of mining considering my father used to work for the mining department. I’ve learned that I have to suck up to the fact that I, too, am responsible for mining activities, considering I am part of the demanding market. I’ve realized that. If doing anything, I should start from myself and reduce my consumption.

Sumbawa - Skinny horses

Consuming like these horses. Less!

Then, we also had a few bonus destinations. Bonus! YAY!

Sekongkang Beach

Sumbawa beaches

swimming Sumbawa

The waters are insanely good. Bram and the local kids can testify.

I had no idea that the West Sumbawa regency had so much potential in becoming a traveler’s destination. The west coast apparently has been very famous amongst international surfers since God knows when (I can feel the point of their daggers as I’m about to expose this surfers beach to a bigger audience). I’ve heard that the waves are for intermediate surfers. The beaches are also gorgeous; it’s hard to stay completely dry on any given day. The inland destinations are as awesome with waterfalls, remote villages, and delicious local food. Did I mention the people are very nice? Seriously recommend it!


Sekongkang waterfall

I would strongly suggest (I’m a nobody, I know :P) NNT to start their Social Responsibility programs towards tourism and train the locals to develop the potential. Tourism is a somewhat sustainable business, living on maintaining the pristine quality of the environment. While many destinations didn’t have the advantage of development of the local people to accept visitors and causing more social problems than expected, West Sumbawa can have a good start.

There are more information about this part of Sumbawa here.

I do have to thank PT. NNT for selecting Indohoy as one of their participants. Without them, my discovery of Sumbawa’s beautiful nature would have been postponed for a longer time. Stay tuned for the stories, guys! *running towards the beach and diving in*

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