The Vanishing Wilderness -- Sumbawa

SUMBAWA, Indonesia -- Southwest Sumbawa was a land about to undergo a traumatic transformation. I was the guest of a mining concession there, the Batu Hijau mining project operated by PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara. They were planning to put in a large, open-pit, copper and gold mine in the mountains.

As with any open-pit mining operation, they were planning to bring in lots of laborers, cut down the forest, build a number of roads, develop a port, and and rearrange the landscape. A pristine forest -- a spectacular landscape -- was to be destroyed in the name of global economic progress. Some of the people (yes, even in the mine's management) were aware of what they were doing and weren't totally comfortable with it. I don't envy them. The world needs copper and gold, and their job was to supply it.

I'm just glad I got to see the area before they got started.

Read excerpts from my field notebook
or click on a thumbnail below to see the image.
[Coast1] [Coast2] [Approach] [Delivery]
Over water Over water Approach Delivery
[LZ] [Coast1] [Coast2] [Maluk]
Landing zone Coast Coast Maluk
[Maluk] [Goats] [Going In 1] [Tree Fern 1]
Maluk Goats Going in Tree fern
[Tree Fern 2] [Tree Fern 3] [Sunflecks] [Creek 1]
Tree fern Tree fern Sunflecks Creek
[Creek 2] [Going In 2] [Forest] [Tramps 1]
Creek Another flight Forest Tramps
[Tramps 2] [Tramps 3] [Creek 3] [Relief]
Tramps Tramps Creek Relief
[Vista] [FinalFlight]
Vista Final flight

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