Nickel mining in Indonesia is putting the traditional lifestyle of the Bajau people at risk and causing significant harm to the coastal environment. Indonesia is the world’s leading producer of nickel, but mining operations have raised concerns among conservationists about their environmental impact. Labengki Island, for example, faces the danger of sea contamination from nearby nickel mines, which harms both the island and its marine life. The presence of around 50 mining companies in North Konawe Regency has resulted in deforestation, open pits, and increased risks of flooding and landslides. The use of chemicals in mining further threatens coral reefs due to sedimentation. Local fishermen, like Lukman from Boenaga village, already experience difficulties as they can no longer fish near their homes due to the murky waters. While compensation may provide temporary relief, there are persistent concerns about the long-term environmental consequences of mining.

Although the Indonesian government claims that licensed mining companies comply with regulations and implement water management systems, illegal mining activities contribute to soil erosion and pollution. Strengthening law enforcement and implementing more stringent environmental standards are essential to addressing the environmental damage caused by mining. It is crucial to act urgently to mitigate the irreversible consequences that mining poses to the future of the Bajau people and the fragile marine ecosystems they rely on. As the demand for nickel continues to grow, finding a balance between economic development and environmental preservation becomes increasingly important.