Environment and Sustainability
How Mining Can Be Green at Heart
Environmental management activities around Adaro Indonesia’s South Kalimantan mining operations include regular water quality measurement.

Environmental management activities around Adaro Indonesia’s South Kalimantan mining operations include regular water quality measurement.

Since Adaro Indonesia’s operations began in South Kalimantan more than 20 years ago, we have strived to implement the principles of good mining practices to minimize the negative impact on the environment.

In our continuing effort to implement good mining practices, we do our best to balance the 3Ps — profit, planet and people — aspects of our operations. Our sector is subject to extensive environmental laws, regulations, and standards, alongside community and stakeholder expectations. We have carefully formulated and implemented a number of programs to manage and monitor the environmental impact of our operations.

Our environmental performance is strictly regulated and controlled by the use of an Environmental Management System aligned with ISO 14001 standards. In addition, various other programs for environmental management, monitoring, and conservation, as well as the efficient use of natural resources and energy have been implemented.

Environmental Awards

In 2014, the government acknowledged our environmental efforts with several awards. For the fifth straight year, we received the Aditama award in coal mining environment management from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. We also received the PROPER Green award for the sixth time from the Ministry of Environment. A green rating signifies that Adaro fully complies with environmental regulatory requirements and excels in environmental management, conservation of resources and community development.

PROPER is a flagship program from the Ministry of Environment to encourage companies to manage their environment and is designed to give them a framework and reference points so that environmental quality improvements can be implemented in a more efficient and effective manner.

Meanwhile, Aditama is an award given by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to the best-performing companies in environmental management excellence in the coal, mineral and geothermal sector.

The achievement represented by these awards is the fruit of the contribution and support from a range of stakeholders, including local communities, our partners and the government.


Settling ponds used specifically for separation of solid waste particles from water can themselves take on the appearance of natural idylls.

Mine Water Management

Adaro Indonesia’s operation is located in a tropical region with high annual rainfall, and therefore large volumes of water must be managed from its coal mining activities. Mine water comes from rainfall that flows into the open pits and runoff water from disturbed lands, such as overburden disposal areas.

Most of the water from the pit and overburden disposal areas mixes with mud and must therefore be processed before being released back to the environment. Adaro Indonesia ensures that the water discharged to rivers meets the quality standards set by the government.

Water pumped from the mine is directed to settling ponds comprising four parts — sedimentation pond, safety pond, treatment pond, and mud pond. In 2014, we processed a total of 355 million cubic meters of mine water.

To strengthen our environmental management, we embarked on a mine water management systems improvement program in 2014. This made mine water management more conservative and rigorous in ensuring compliance with the prevailing regulations and good mining practices.

We use processed wastewater in place of fresh water for various needs in our operation, such as dust suppression along haul roads. Further, we process some of the waste water in a water treatment facility called WTP T-300, to produce clean water that is ready for use for domestic and industrial purposes. This facility, built in 2008, reflects Adaro Indonesia’s commitment to the environment beyond regulatory compliance, since it creates value by producing clean, safe water from waste water.

This facility operates 14 to 15 hours per day, generating 1,100 m3 of water daily. Quality is checked on a daily basis and samples are regularly sent to a laboratory for analysis. The clean water produced by WTP T-300 is not only consumed by AI employees and contractors but is also distributed to the surrounding communities, whose geographical condition has made access to clean water a luxury.

Acid Mine Drainage

Another challenge in our operation is managing overburden. We remove and dispose of a lot of overburden. Certain overburden contains sulfide materials such as pyrite (Fe2S3), which when buried underground is a stable compound. But once the overburden is stripped and placed in the open air, the sulfide materials can react with oxygen and water to produce acid.

The first step in managing acid mine drainage (AMD) is to identify and segregate potentially acid-forming (PAF) material from non-acid-forming (NAF). The identification process is first done during the exploration phase from geological drill core samples and is confirmed later during mine operations using blast hole samples.

In 2013, we successfully developed and began operating our own AMD laboratory to identify PAF and NAF materials. Once identified and segregated, PAF and NAF materials are selectively placed in such a way that at the end PAF materials will be completely encapsulated by NAF materials in the overburden dumping area. The encapsulation is to prevent the PAF material reacting with oxygen from the air and water from rainfall and run-off mine water.

Among Adaro Indonesia’s three pits, only Wara mine produces a significant amount of PAF material with low potential of acid generation. Run-off water from the overburden placement area is directed toward drains to nearby settling ponds. Water entering the settling ponds is treated to ensure it meets government effluent standards.


The Meratus mountain range is clearly seen facing east from the Paringin pit at our Tabalong mine site. Adaro is meticulous in monitoring air quality around all operational sites.

Dust Suppression Program

We monitor air quality in Adaro Indonesia’s mining areas as well as along the 80km hauling road. To reduce dust we regularly water segments at the mining areas and along the hauling road which have high dust potential. The hauling road is chip-sealed to minimize dust, expedite the trailer traffic and reduce fuel use.

Another measure to reduce dust is by planting trees beside the road to keep dust from travelling to the surrounding villages. The leaves of trees such as eucalyptus, sengon and bamboos are effective at blocking dust, and these trees are added at 10-meter intervals to the existing trees along the hauling road.

Energy Preservation

We comply with government regulations regarding the use of biodiesel in our operations, as reflected in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation No. 25 of 2013 concerning the use of biofuel. This regulation requires the mining industry, together with other natural resources industries, to use 5% biodiesel from September 2013 and ramp it up to 10% in 2014, 20% in 2016 and 25% in 2025.

In 2011, Adaro Energy, in collaboration with Komatsu Ltd and PT United Tractors Tbk, inaugurated a pilot plant for biodiesel fuel production. Feedstock materials to be fed into the plant can be crude palm oil or crude jatropha oil. The purpose of the pilot plant is to gain know-how in biodiesel production and the associated production costs to prepare for larger-scale operation.

Adaro Indonesia is at the forefront of mining companies implementing the use of B-10 diesel fuel, which contains 10% biofuel. With annual diesel consumption close to 700 million liters, Adaro Indonesia has replaced 70 million liters of diesel with biodiesel.

Adaro Indonesia is thus replacing a significant amount of fossil diesel fuel with biodiesel fuel and thereby also replacing significant amounts of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel with non-fossil fuel.

Land Reclamation

After mining activities are completed, we carry out progressive reclamation for affected land by planting trees. This is to create a new and green environment following an agreed land use plan.

During 2014, we reclaimed 212 hectares of ex-mining areas from a total target of 198 hectares. Adaro Indonesia is also cultivating freshwater fish, poultry and cattle in the reclamation area to demonstrate integrated farming in an ex-mining area.


The first new seedling goes into the ground on a patch of resoiled land above an overburden pile. Terrain that often started as scrubland pre-mining will end up as forest.

Biodiversity Management

Open-pit mining requires overburden stripping, which causes changes in the landscape, thus affecting the ecosystem and biodiversity. We have carried out extensive efforts to maintain or reduce the impact of our operations on the biodiversity of the land around our mines and to comply with applicable rules and regulations.

One such effort that we have undertaken is the reclamation of ex-mine area at South Paringin to restore the landscape. Reforestation of mined land in Paringin mine was quite a challenge back in the days, when Adaro first undertook its reclamation activities in the early 1990s, especially because the more sophisticated technology had not been available. Adaro’s reclamation team had to plant the trees by digging the holes manually, one tree at a time.

Two decades later, Adaro’s efforts to rehabilitate the land and restore biodiversity have borne fruit, and the area has been restored. There is hardly any indication that the area used to be a coal mine, as it has transformed into a green forest with its natural ecosystem. Wildlife has also come back to the reclaimed area.

Sustainability Reports

Adaro’s presence in South Kalimantan has influenced the current economic, social and natural environment of the province down to village level, and the company recognizes that there is a responsibility to give back to these local communities to ensure the development of a better life in the surrounding areas. To see comprehensive details of Adaro’s activities in social responsibility and sustainability, download our most recent Sustainability Report here:

Sustainability Report 2011 (English)
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