If you want to learn about the indigenous people of Halmahera
in Indonesia, this page contains lots of useful information,
including how they are affected by the actions of humans
from outside their environment.
Halmahera (also Jilolo or Gilolo) is the largest island
in the Maluku Islands. It is part of the North Maluku
province of Indonesia. Halmahera has a land area of 17,780
kmē (6,865 sq mi) and a population in 1995 of 162,728.
About half of its inhabitants are Muslim and about half
Sparsely-populated, Halmahera's fortunes have long been
closely tied to those of the smaller islands of Ternate
and Tidore, both off its west coast. These islands were
both the sites of major kingdoms in the era before Dutch
East India Company colonized the entire archipelago. During
World War II, Halmahera was the site of a Japanese military
base at Kao Bay.
In 1999 and 2000 Halmahera was the site of violence between
Christians and Muslims that began as a purely ethnic dispute
between residents of (mainly Christian) Kao and (entirely
Muslim) Malifut sub-districts and then took on a religious
nature as it spread through much of the North Moluccas.
Thousands of people on Halmahera were killed in the fighting
between religious militias, including groups like Laskar
Jihad and FPI (the Islamic Defenders' Front) who arrived
from Java in large numbers. In June 2000, about five hundred
people were killed when a ferry carrying refugees from
the fighting on Halmahera sank off the northeast tip of
Sulawesi island. Conspiracy theories about this event
abound. A touching memorial to this tragedy can be found
in Duma village in North Halmahera district.
Today, much transportation to the rest of Indonesia is
through connections on the provincial capital, Ternate
island; although Tobelo, the largest town on Halmahera,
also has direct ferry and cargo sea links to Surabaya
and Manado. Particularly since the inauguration of the
first ever directly elected Bupati (Regent or District
Head), Tobelo is undergoing rapid development and is aiming
at rivaling Ternate's historical dominance. Tobelo has
the advantage of expansion potential, being surrounded
by flat land. Ternate is limited by its size, being a
small island which can be driven around in 45 minutes.
Also, the provincial government has plans to move the
provincial capital to Sofifi, a small village on the Halmahera
coast opposite Tidore island. North Maluku province consists
of 8 districts, 6 of which include a part of Halmahera
island. They are: North Halmahera, West Halmahera, East
Halmahera, Central Halmahera, South Hamahera, Ternate
Municipality, Tidore City and Islands and Sula Islands.
Only Ternate Municipality and Sula Islands do not include
any part of Halmahera.
Geology Dukono is an active volcano at the north end
of the island.
Halmahera is the site of several mining projects. Australian
corporation Newcrest Mining is the majority owner of two
gold mines on the island. The Gosowong mine was an open-pit
cyanide-leach mine that operated from June 1999 to May
2002, and is now closed. The Toguraci mine began operation
in February 2004. This latter mine has been the subject
of conflict between local residents and the mining company.
The mine is located in a forested area that, according
to local residents, is protected under Indonesian law.
In January 2004 then-president Megawati issued an amendment
to the forestry law that, according to Newcrest, ensures
that its operations are within the law. In 2003 and 2004,
there were intermittent protests at the Toguraci site
by residents seeking to stop the Newcrest mine. Until
late 2003, security at the mine was provided by members
of the Indonesian military, who were paid by Newcrest
Mining's local subsidiary. In October 2003, they were
replaced by the police's Brigade Mobil, a paramilitary
force. One person was killed and several others injured
by these security forces during a protest in January 2004.
Further protests and an occupation of the mine site occurred
in May and June 2004.
Weda Bay Minerals is engaged in developing a nickel and
cobalt mine on the island. The single-purpose corporation,
focused only on developing this mine, is a joint venture
of two Australian mining companies, and is traded on the
Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada. The project is still
in an exploratory phase; the corporation expects the mine
to last for at least twenty-five years after it opens.
We are supporting the World Land Trust (WLT) - a conservation
charity involved in numerous projects worldwide. Particularly
relevant to this site is their work in helping to purchase
rainforest land to protect and preserve it.
You can Help to Buy Rainforest
and Save it by donating to the WLT to save some of
this land through a personal contribution or buying as
If you have any photos, stories or drawings of The Daintree
Rainforest in Queensland or anything else to do with the
rainforest environment that you would like to see shown
on the site, please feel free to send them in. We always
welcome contributions or constructive comments.