At PT Agincourt Resources, we strive to operate all our businesses responsibly. We are steadfastly committed to balancing business growth with social well-being and environmental sustainability across all the communities in which we operate. We take action to minimise the impact that our businesses have on biodiversity and to ensure we are doing all we can to promote sustainable practices.
“Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.” Earth Summit 1992
The management of impacts on biodiversity associated with the operation of the Martabe Gold Mine is based on the mitigation hierarchy and is aligned to industry leading practices. The loss of habitat is the main project related impact on biodiversity. Unlike most other types of development involving natural ecosystems, this loss will be largely recovered through habitat restoration under the site rehabilitation program.
The Martabe Gold Mine is materially in compliance with the requirements of IFC Performance Standard 6 with the exception of a biodiversity offset. PTAR recognizes the importance of an offset for the site and is currently implementing an offset feasibility study to support this outcome.
Long-term protection of biodiversity in the Batang Toru Ecosystem requires the cooperation of all key stakeholders in the development and implementation of strategic conservation programs and other initiatives. PTAR is seeking to be an active long-term partner in support of this outcome.
The mine is located to the southwest of the BTE. The BTE is estimated to cover an area of more than 150,000 hectares  (“ha”) and is spread administratively across the three Tapanuli districts of North Sumatera Province: South Tapanuli, Central Tapanuli and North Tapanuli.
Land within the BTE falls into various categories, including Protected Forest  (land which is “old” forest and cannot be developed) as well as land which can be used for various purposes, including Logging/Production Forest, agricultural use, rural and urban residential use as well as mining and infrastructure.
The BTE also overlaps with the 170,000 ha Batang Toru Key Biodiversity Area  (“KBA”), an area of critical importance for biodiversity.
No part of the mine’s current or prospective future area of operations overlaps with Protected Forest or the KBA. However, part of the mine’s footprint overlaps with the BTE.
The active footprint of the mine is 509 ha as of January 2022. Of this, 114 ha overlaps with the BTE. The projected life of mine footprint is 918 ha, of which 341 ha will overlap with the BTE (<0.2% of the total size of the BTE).
 Sustainable Management Initiative for Landscape & Ecosystem (SMILE) Batang Toru.
 The Batang Toru “Protected Forest” area was a formal designation by the Government of Indonesia and tabled in the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry decree II in 2014.
 The Batang Toru “Key Biodiversity Area” was a boundary formally recognized in 2016 by multiple non-governmental conservation organizations including IUCN and WWF.
Throughout the Martabe Gold Mine Project, PTAR implements industry leading practices to minimize negative and/or unsustainable impacts on biodiversity. Key elements of PTAR’s management of biodiversity are summarized in the following document
The PTAR Biodiversity Policy commits the Company to the implementation of industry-leading practices for biodiversity management, the most important of which is the widely recognised mitigation hierarchy. [see Biodiversity Policy]
BIODIVERSITY ADVISORY PANEL
As a source of independent expert biodiversity advice to the PTAR Board, a Biodiversity Advisory Panel has been established in 2019 by PTAR comprising four highly regarded Indonesian scientistis with expertise in forest ecosystems and orangutan conservation. The functions and membership of the Panel are documented in its charter.
[see Biodiversity Advisory Panel]
BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN
The PTAR Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) provides an implementation framework for the PTAR Biodiversity Policy and facilitate Board oversight of biodiversity management performance. It comprises seven elements:
- Management Principles
- Action Plans
- Operational Controls
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Review and Improvement
The scope of the BSAP includes all activities managed by PTAR including operations at the Martabe Gold Mine and its regional exploration program. It also encompasses biodiversity conservation aspects beyond the direct area of influence of mine operations in recognition of the importance of regional biodiversity conservation.
[see Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan]
CODE OF PRACTICE BIODIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
Operational controls for biodiversity protection at the Martabe Gold Mine are documented in PTAR Code of Practice Biodiversity Management. These are mandatory requirements for both PTAR and site contractors. The scope of the Code of Practice includes:
- Key accountabilities across the management team
- Avoidance and minimisation of biodiversity impacts in the planning of new projects
- Minimisation of unnecessary clearing and disturbance of habitat
- Management of hazardous wastes
- Protection of animals inhabiting the site
- Restoration of forest habitat on disturbed areas as part of mine closure
- Stakeholder engagement
LAND CLEARING MANAGEMENT
All clearing of vegetation must be preceded by “pre-clearance surveys”—whose methodology and inference designed and controlled by BAP—to prudently identify biodiversity risks and subsequently recommend mitigation practices, as per mitigation hierarchy principle.
This “pre-clearance survey” shall be carried out at least one year before proposed timing of clearing, even for area already approved as an act of prudence. BAP will confirm its formal approval to PTAR’s land clearing plan as a part of PTAR-BAP annual workshops report.
All clearing of vegetation at the mine is strictly controlled by a Land Disturbance Request procedure (“LADR”), which includes:
- verification that the area being cleared is approved under the AMDAL parameters and BAP;
- the carrying out of pre-clearance inspections; and
- careful recording of all relevant evidence.
If any protected species are found, clearing activities in the vicinity are required to stop immediately and a defined procedure is followed to ensure the protection of the animal(s).
At the Martabe Gold Mine, the goal of site rehabilitation is returning the forest habitat of disturbed areas to a similar condition to that existing prior to project development. This specifically includes restoration of habitat for threatened species such as Tapanuli orangutan. PTAR is also committed to the implementation of progressive rehabilitation, meaning that land is rehabilitated as it becomes available. Techniques for the restoration of tropical forest are now well established. The procedure applied at the Martabe Gold Mine is similar to that seen at many mines. The Company maintains a full-time rehabilitation crew and a site nursery to support ongoing rehabilitation works.
PROTECTING TAPANULI ORANGUTAN
In 2017, the orangutan population in the Batangtoru Forest was recognized as a new species, named Tapanuli orangutan or Pongo tapanuliensis. With an estimated total population of around 800, Tapanuli orangutan has critically endangered status.
The Martabe mine has been focusing on protecting the surrounding biodiversity since its establishment. Controls for the protection of orangutan have been in place since the commencement of the project and the Company has implemented significant improvements to its management of biodiversity over the last several years, with a particular focus on Tapanuli orangutans.
Surveys and studies
A wide range of surveys and other scientific studies have been carried out over the past 18 years. These include several flora and fauna surveys [see Survey Works], a High Conservation Value mapping exercise, a forest disturbance mapping project and offset studies. All these surveys were carried out by reputable consultants, applied established methodology. [see Survey Methodology]
All past surveys/studies serve as the important basis for:
- Multi-layered permitting and licensing (Environmental Impact Assessment Study (or AMDAL) process during which active participation of community, academics, and other relevant stakeholders was welcomed and integral part of the process.
- PTAR to implement industry leading practices to minimise impacts on biodiversity associated with the mine.
Establishment of a Biodiversity Advisory Panel
The work of the BAP directly informs the ongoing development of PTAR’s annual Biodiversity Action Plan, which provides a framework for biodiversity management at the mine, as well as a Code of Practice for the implementation of operational controls at the mine to mitigate the impact of the mine on the surrounding environment through the mitigation hierarchy.
The BAP closely monitors the implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan, and workshops are held at least twice a year to discuss progress and resolve any issues. The BAP has also trained PTAR employees in conducting these feasibility and impact assessments as well as walk-through inspections which are conducted periodically and which must be conducted immediately prior to any clearing of natural vegetation at the mine. A key part of the training has been to show them how to identify evidence of orangutan activity.
2022 Biodiversity Action Plan
Industry-leading practices and procedures
PTAR has adopted industry-leading practices and procedures to minimize the impacts on biodiversity associated with the mine, and has implemented a range of controls in accordance with an internationally-recognised mitigation hierarchy [see Mitigation Hierarchy]. The mitigation hierarchy is a widely recognized framework for mitigating project-related biodiversity impacts, referenced by the Equator Principles and IFC Performance standard 6 (Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources).
Land clearing management
Land clearing is an important part of the PTAR’s operation. Land clearing involves removing all or any portion of existing vegetation from parcels of land prior to gold ore extraction or key mine’s infrastructures development and operation. Heavy duty machinery plows or scrapes the ground surface to remove trees, stumps and other vegetation from wooded areas.
PTAR needs to recommence of land-clearing work in January 2023. This comprises work on the existing Tailings Storage Facility (“TSF”) and around the existing mining pits, which is a combination of primarily safety-related work and the construction of an access road, as well as a limited amount of exploration work. It also includes construction of a new Tailings Management Facility (“TMF”). This work will require land totaling approximately 120 ha to be cleared. Post 2023, growth of clearing area will then plateauing around 25-50 Ha per year.
Land-clearing area are strictly regulated by the GoI. An annual land clearing plan must be submitted and is subject to evaluation, especially its relevance with mine’s approved long-term plan, adherence to environmental permit requirement and alignment to land rehabilitation plan. Going extra miles, PTAR has been applying additional cautious steps.
(blue area in the middle is more likely to be developed as part of internal corridor)
BAP-led preclearance survey team led By Dr. Sri Suci Utama Atmoko
Firstly, all clearing of vegetation must be preceded by “pre-clearance surveys”. This surveys are under BAP supervision and apply universally accepted methodologies in data collection (nest-counting by transects walk) and inference analysis. The objective is for BAP to prudently identify biodiversity risks, especially orangutans, and subsequently recommend mitigation practices, as per mitigation hierarchy principle. This “pre-clearance survey” shall be carried out at least one year before proposed timing of clearing, even for an area already approved, as an act of prudence. BAP will confirm its formal approval to PTAR’s land clearing plan as a part of PTAR-BAP annual workshops report.
Secondly, days before land clearing execution, Land Access Disturbance Request (“LADR”) procedure must be carried out, which includes:
- verification that the area being cleared is approved under the AMDAL parameters;
- careful recording of all relevant evidence;
- a procedure to immediately halt all clearing activity and coordination with relevant government agency to ensure orangutans safety, in case of any orangutan of being observed in the target area.
PTAR is continuously seeking opportunities to improve the ecosystem in and around the mine area, in-line with the long-term mine closure plan. In accordance with the CoW, PTAR is committed to fully restoring the mine to its former natural state at its end of life.
As of the end of 2021, PTAR had rehabilitated 32.5 Ha of land. Additional 39 Ha of land will be rehabilitated within 2022-2026, distributed across TSF’s embankment area (28 Ha) and various explorations points (11 Ha). Rehabilitated area is expected to grow rapidly as the size of the post-mined area increases. The BAP has been advising the team on improving the effectiveness of its mine rehabilitation approach. Initiatives include intensive identification of local plant species, expanded nursery capacity to produce these local plant seeds, and implementation of mychoriza symbiot technique to improve success rate and quality of replantation under supervision of Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB).
Rehabilitated area in the Martabe mine
In accordance with the law, a Mine Closure Plan has been submitted to and approved by the GoI. This plan sets out strategy and general timeline to fully bring post-mining area into desired state, aiming at a full restoration of the ecological function of mining area. This long-term plan will be synchronized with shorter-time rehabilitation plan. The key element of this plan is to engage mine-closure professionals including conservationists and landscape experts. In accordance with the regulation, PTAR has put a sum of $29.6 m in GoI as a Mine Closure Guarantee, or Jaminan Paska Tambang (JPT).
PTAR is aware of Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) published in 2016 as a public-domain document with the most comprehensive assessment of orangutans, including recommended strategies and action to support its long-term viability.
With confidence, PTAR could confirm that it has been in compliance with all recommended mitigation strategies documented for mining-related sector, including:
- Compliance to all applicable law, especially in relation with land-use, environmental protection, and biodiversity protection laws and regulations.
- not expanding the mining activity into area classified as “forest” in accordance with the Indonesian Law. We are operating only within “Area Penggunaan Lain — Other Use” (APL).
- Implementation of Better Management Practices (BMP) through implementation of internationally-recognized standards in mining practices, including IFC PS-6.
- Implementation of effective replanting policies, reclamations, and reforestation. PTAR is active in mandatory land reclamation and seeking ways to accelerate both quantity and quality of rehabilitation programs.
- PTAR has been active in the identification, maintenance, and improvement of internal corridors, including the one which was identified in 2014 HCV study.
- With BAP and reputable international consultants, PTAR is also working on an offset program to identify and manage protection/conservation sites outside our mine area including an opportunity to build a wildlife corridor. An early report will be available early next year.
However, we realize that it takes more than just PTAR to effectively contribute to Tapanuli orangutan long-term viability. PTAR has also carried out considerable work in conservation initiatives beyond what’s required for mining sector, including existing and future collaborative works with key regional stakeholders in protecting larger area of ecosystem and working on potential offsets program for residual impacts which cannot be avoided or mitigated. The initiatives include:
Regular trainings in pre-clearing fauna inspections and phenology to increase awareness, knowledge and skill of its staff.
2022 Phenology Field Training
2022 Phenology Field Training
PTAR has been conducting regular trainings in pre-clearing fauna inspections and phenology to increase awareness, knowledge, and skill of its staff.
Improved Zonal Protection
Biodiversity warning signs to reduce human-orangutans conflicts
PTAR has improved its zonal protection through implementation wildlife warning signs and routine patrol aimed at reducing wildlife-human conflicts and eradicating illegal access which may lead to degradation of ecosystem due to illegal activities (hunting and farming).
Major Partner for Key Regional Stakeholders
PTAR has been a major partner for key regional stakeholders: Barumun Nagari Wildlife Sanctuary (BNWS) which provides tigers, tapir, and elephants sanctuary services; and Scorpion Foundation, a key NGO carries out regional protection and conservation activities of the environment and wildlife, including community-based patrol, particularly in the area of Batangtoru Forest and PTAR mining.
Promoting alternative economic livelihoods
- PTAR has been one of the most significant economic drivers to the local community by providing employment opportunities and purchasing goods/services.
PTAR economic contribution to the local community, excluding $80-100 m in various taxes, royalties, dividends to regional and central government.
- PTAR has also been active in various capacity-building programs for local community: improving education and healthcare infrastructure as well as supporting projects in sustainable farming and home industries which in turn helped to reduce illegal mining, farming, and logging activities.
PTAR public contribution
Improving spatial planning for orangutans (protection of critical conservation areas, reduced fragmentation from roads, effective corridors, settlements with reduced chance of human-orangutan conflict)
- PTAR has been active in identification, maintenance and improvement of internal corridor, including the one which was identified in 2014 HCV study.
- With BAP and reputable international consultants, PTAR is also working on offset program to identify and manage protection / conservation sites outside our mine area including opportunity to build a wildlife corridor. An early report will be available early next year.
- PTAR has been in close communication with key regional NGO, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL), to establish joint programs specifically designed for orangutans conservation.
Encouraging local community planting schemes on their lands, for community/personal use (e.g. house refurbishment), to avoid the community to return to the site and destroy the habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan.
PTAR has been working in identification and management of “Lubuk Larangan” sites as a part of rejuvenation of local wishdom to protect some part of water system and related landscape as “not-for-human exploitation zone”, promoting sustainable fishery practices.
2022 Lubuk Larangan Project
Conducting habitat enrichment with forage plants in the peripheral BTE area as a natural barrier for orangutans, to be supported under the North Sumatra Government, which can help to facilitate the cultivation of plants that are not a source of orangutan food on community lands
- The BAP has been advising the PTAR team on improving effectiveness of mine rehabilitation including implementation of mykorrhiza symbiose techniques.
- Using state-of-the-art molecular and genetic tools, coupled to high-throughput sequencing and advanced microscopy, mykorrhiza symbionts can be identified and applied to improve the nutrient status of their host plants, influencing mineral nutrition, water absorption, growth and disease resistance, thus improve the success rate and speed of mine rehabilitation programme.
- The target is to include as many local food/forage plants in BTE parameters.
PTAR understands that collaboration between key stakeholders is critical to ensuring the sustainable conservation of biodiversity in the Batang Toru Ecosystem. The Company supports this outcome through various means.
Since 2020, we have been helping the Bodhicitta Mandala Medan Association Foundation (YPBMM) and the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Center (BBKSDA) to release three Sumatran tigers. The Sumatran tiger is one of the protected and endangered wildlife species with the status of Critically Endangered.
Partnerships with universities and other research institutions in the implementation of biodiversity surveys and field trials at the Martabe Gold Mine.
Providing university students and graduates with site biodiversity survey experience.
Supporting independent assessment of the quality of site water discharge by means of an Integrated Monitoring Team comprising representatives from local government, local communities and the University of North Sumatra.
Participation in workshops, forums and other events held in support of biodiversity conservation in the Batangtoru Forest.
Ongoing financial support for local conservation NGOs including the Scorpion Foundation and the Medan Bodhicitta Mandala Association, that operates the Barumun Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary.
BIODIVERSITY STANDARDS, CODES AND GUIDANCE
The approach to the management of biodiversity at the Martabe Gold Mine has been developed with reference to a range of widely recognized industry guidance, including :
- IFC Performance Standard 6 Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources (IFC 2012)
- Standard on Biodiversity Offsets (BBOP 2012)
- Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity (ICMM 2006)
Management of biodiversity at the Martabe Gold Mine is based on the mitigation hierarchy, widely recognized as best practice for mitigating project related biodiversity impacts [see Mitigation Hierarchy Controls].
Examples Martabe Gold Mine
Offset project (under development)
Restoration of forest habitat under the site rehabilitation program
Land Clearing Management
Pre-clearing fauna inspections
Avoidance of mine development in Protected Forest
Site selection tailing storage facility
The first and potentially most important step in the mitigation hierarchy is avoidance of impacts by means of decisions made early in the project planning stage. The most likely opportunities for avoidance involve site selection, project design and project scheduling.
Minimisation involves reducing “as low as reasonably practicable” biodiversity loss due to impacts that are unavoidable if the project is implemented. There are three classes of controls for minimising project related environmental impacts: physical controls related to the design of infrastructure, operational controls such as rules and procedures, and abatement controls on pollution.
Restoration involves measures taken to recover biodiversity loss that has not been addressed through avoidance and/or minimization. The common example in mining is site rehabilitation involving the establishment of habitat similar to that originally cleared. Restoration of habitat is the most important control on biodiversity loss at the Martabe Gold Mine.
Biodiversity offsets are measurable conservation outcomes resulting from actions designed to compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from project development and persisting after appropriate avoidance, minimization and restoration measures have been taken. (IFC Performance Standard 6)
TECHNICAL STUDIES IN SUPPORT OF BIODIVERSITY
Since project commencement, PTAR has implemented a range of technical studies to support development of controls for mitigating biodiversity impacts associated with the Martabe Gold Mine.
FLORA AND FAUNA SURVEYS
The first fauna and flora survey at the Martabe site was conducted in 2003. Since that time, seven additional surveys have been conducted in support of environmental impact assessments and also to meet more specialized needs. The data provided by these surveys is important for development of the site rehabilitation program and the design of a biodiversity offset. All fauna and flora surveys have been conducted by experienced consultant ecologists using standardized methods for data collection and analysis.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Planning for sustainable development at the Martabe Gold Mine commenced before the construction of the project with the implementation of 38 environmental and social studies in support of the project’s environmental and social impact assessment, known as AMDAL. The AMDAL contains a large number of requirements for the control of impacts over the life of the mine. Impacts on biodiversity are evaluated as part of the Amdal assessment process.
HABITAT MAPPING STUDIES
Two habitat mapping studies have been implemented at the Martabe Gold Mine. Study outcomes included:
- Evaluation and mapping of land cover and habitat types over the project area.
- Evaluation of impacts on habitat associated with the project.
- Recommendations for improving biodiversity management at the site.
Specifically, the results of these studies are important for the design of a biodiversity offset for the site.