The Bangka Belitung Province is made up of approximately 470 islands off the coast of Sumatra, out of which around 50 are inhabited. The two main islands Bangka and Belitung measure 1.6 million ha in total, out of which 75% are licensed for mining by local companies, the biggest two being PT Timah and PT Kobatin (1). The province's on- and offshore tin resources have been exploited for centuries. In 2013, the province accounted for a third of the global tin supply, and its production equalled 106,000 tonnes. The larger part of the tin is produced for the international market, and used foremost in consumer electronics (2) (3). In addition to the large tract of land covered by mining concessions, oil palm plantations occupy another 230,000 ha of the province. This leaves only 300,000 ha of land for other uses, such as residential areas and other cultivation. The risk for agrarian conflict is rising by every concession grant, since the agricultural land of the islanders is compromised (1). The mining governance is decentralised to the regional level and under poor regulation and monitoring (1) (2). In 2001, the Bangka Belitung regent issued a decree that have the private persons to mine tin in the province . Mining areas have expanded into protected forests and marine ecosystems, conservation forests as well as into residential areas (2). There are currently 44 companies operating in Bangka Belitung's protected forests, and 4 in its conservation forest (1).
Due to neglection of regulations regarding safety, and good digging practices, landslides and accidents are frequent. Cases of child labour have been reported, and the industry causes the death of approximately 150 miners every year (3) (4). Further, on-land mining activities reduce the biodiversity and increases the risk of floods. The tin is often washed in rivers and watersheds, leading to pollution and reduced fish populations (5). Offshore mining activities generate changes the ocean biodiversity and water quality as well as it threatens the province's coral reefs, out of which 50% are already reported to be in a critical condition (2) (3). Moreover, according to law, former mining sites must be transformed into reclamation projects, such as farms or plantations. However, many are abandoned (3). Land conversion is costly, and 64% of the Bangka-Belitung land area is comprised by abandoned pits, which are both dangerous and a source of diseases, such as dengue and malaria, due to stagnant water they hold (1).
Friends of the Earth have released several campaigns globally, focusing on targeting big corporations such as Microsoft, Asus, HTC and Huawei who are sourcing tin unsustainably from the Bangka Belitung region (4). Activists and community members have repeatedly arranged street marches and protested at company and government offices as well as at sourcing sites, calling for an ending to the sourcing off tin from the province (6) (7) (8). Further, cases of intra-community conflicts have been and are continuing to be seen as a result of mining activities (9). Local protests have at best resulted in temporary production stops, but conflicts continue to take place (10).