Religious Organizations in Indonesia Allowed to Manage Mines under New Regulation

Jokowi and officials from NU in preparation for G20 and R20 (22/9/2022). (Photo:

President Joko Widodo has signed a new regulation allowing religious organizations to obtain Special Mining Business Permits (IUPK). This policy is outlined in Government Regulation (PP) No. 25 of 2024, signed by the Head of State on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif stated that the government has prepared six coal mining areas that were previously under production agreements for religious organization enterprises.

"NU, Muhammadiyah, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist. Those are the ones," said Arifin Tasrif at the Directorate General of Oil and Gas office in Jakarta on Friday, June 8, 2024, quoted by Antara.

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Arifin explained that the six Special Mining Business Permit Areas available for religious organization enterprises include former lands of PT Arutmin Indonesia, PT Kendilo Coal Indonesia, PT Kaltim Prima Coal, PT Adaro Energy Tbk, PT Multi Harapan Utama (MAU), and PT Kideco Jaya Agung.

Religious organization enterprises are given a five-year period to manage these mining areas. "If it is not worked on within five years, the permit will no longer be valid. So, if given the permit, quickly establish an enterprise," Arifin advised.

He also emphasized that the permits for managing the coal mining areas cannot be transferred to ensure transparency. "It must be managed transparently and cannot be transferred," Arifin stressed.

Previously, on Thursday, May 30, 2024, President Joko Widodo signed Government Regulation (PP) 25/2024, which amended PP 96/2021 regarding the Implementation of Mineral and Coal Mining Business Activities.

Article 83A of PP 25/2024 allows religious organizations such as NU and Muhammadiyah, the two largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia, to manage WIUPK.

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Mixed Responses

Environmental organizations have voiced their concerns about this regulatory change. The Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) urged religious organizations to reject involvement in the mining business. "Mining is capital and technology-intensive. The mining economy is fragile, unsustainable, and greedy for land and water," said Jatam in a press release received by Tempo in Jakarta on Monday, June 3, 2024.

The Protestant Christian organization Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) also declined to accept mining permits. "We humbly declare that HKBP will not involve itself as a Church in mining activities," said HKBP Ephorus, Reverend Robinson Butarbutar, in a written statement received by Tempo on Saturday, June 8, 2024.

Robinson cited the HKBP Confession of 1996, which underscores the Church's responsibility to protect the environment from human exploitation in the name of development. "It has long been proven to be one of the main causes of environmental damage and unbridled global warming," Robinson stated.

He argued that environmental damage should be addressed urgently by transitioning to alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind energy. Robinson also quoted several Bible verses emphasizing human responsibility to preserve God's creation.

Additionally, HKBP urged the government to strictly enforce regulations to prevent environmental damage from mining activities.

The Catholic organization, the Indonesian Bishops' Conference (KWI), through its representative Cardinal Suharyo, stated that they would not apply for coal mining permits, even though the regulation allows religious organizations to do so. KWI believes that mining is not within their domain and focuses on serving their congregations.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), Gomar Gultom, acknowledged the policy as a commitment to involving the public in managing natural resources. However, he cautioned that managing mines is complex and that religious organizations should not neglect their primary mission of spiritual guidance.

The moderate Islamic organization Muhammadiyah criticized the granting of mining permits to religious organizations without a tender process as violating regulations. Nevertheless, the Central Board (PP) Muhammadiyah has yet to decide on accepting the permits. "The leadership has not decided yet," said PP Muhammadiyah's Legal and Human Rights Council Chairman Trisno Raharjo on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

Muhammadiyah's Chairman for Tabligh, Community Dakwah, Pesantren, and Hajj-Umrah Development, M. Saad Ibrahim, mentioned that they have not received any official offer from the government regarding the mining permits. "We will deliberate thoroughly on the positives, negatives, and Muhammadiyah's capability to accept the offer," Saad said in Central Jakarta on Tuesday.

Among the religious organizations, only the Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU), a traditional Islamic organization, has expressed willingness to accept the mining permits. PBNU quickly applied for the permits, becoming the first religious organization to do so.

PBNU Chairman Yahya Cholil Staquf explained that the decision to accept the permits was driven by the need for funds to support various Nahdlatul Ulama programs and infrastructure. "NU needs any lawful source of income to finance the organization," Gus Yahya stated at the PBNU office in Central Jakarta on Thursday, June 6, 2024.

Yahya highlighted the pressing needs of around 30,000 pesantren and madrasah under NU, which require significant support. He cited examples of overcrowded facilities and underpaid teachers to justify the decision.

The mining permits granted to PBNU originated from President Jokowi's promise during the Nahdlatul Ulama congress in December 2021. Jokowi promised to distribute mining permits for coal, nickel, and copper to NU. 

Religious Organizations in Indonesia

Indonesia, which recognizes 6 major religions, is home to a diverse array of religious organizations, each playing a significant role in the country's social and cultural landscape. Here is a comprehensive list of major religious organizations in Indonesia, categorized by religion as compiled by Radio Republik Indonesia:


According to the Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat, there are over 100 Islamic organizations in Indonesia, with millions of followers. The Ministry of Religious Affairs highlights several organizations with extensive networks, including:

  • Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)
  • Muhammadiyah
  • Sarekat Islam
  • Persatuan Islam (Persis)
  • Persatuan Umat Islam (PUI)
  • Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiyah
  • Persatuan Tarbiyah Islamiyah (Perti)
  • Mathlaul Anwar
  • Al-Jam'iyatul Washliyah
  • Wanita Islam
  • Darud Dakwah Wal Irsyad (DDII)
  • Alkhairaat
  • Hidayatullah


Based on the Christian religious data system of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, prominent Christian organizations in Indonesia include:

  • Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja di Indonesia (PGI)
  • Persekutuan Gereja Pantekosta Indonesia (PGPI)
  • Persekutuan Gereja-gereja dan Lembaga-lembaga Injili Indonesia (PGLII)
  • Gabungan Gereja Advent Hari Ketujuh (GMAHK)
  • Bala Keselamatan (Salvation Army)
  • Gereja Orthodoks Indonesia (GOI)
  • Gereja Persekutuan Tionghoa di Indonesia (PGTI)


Notable Catholic religious organizations in Indonesia include:

  • Konferensi Waligereja Indonesia (KWI)
  • Wanita Katolik RI (WKRI)
  • Ikatan Sarjana Katolik Indonesia (ISKA)
  • Perkumpulan Mahasiswa Katolik RI (PMKRI)


According to the Indonesian Buddhist Representation (Walubi), the following Buddhist councils are recognized in Indonesia:

  • Majelis Umat Buddha Theravada Indonesia (Majubuthi)
  • Majelis Umat Buddha Mahayana Indonesia (Majubumi)
  • Majelis Mahayana Buddhis Indonesia (Mahabudhi)
  • Majelis Umat Nyingma Indonesia (MUNI)
  • Majelis Agama Buddha Mahayana Tanah Suci (Majabumi TS)
  • Majelis Rohaniawan Tridharma Seluruh Indonesia (Martrisia)
  • Majelis Pandita Buddha Maitreya Indonesia (Mapanbumi)
  • Parisadha Buddha Dharma Niciren Syosyu Indonesia (PBDNSI)
  • Majelis Nichiren Shoshu Buddha Dharma Indonesia (MNSBDI)
  • Zhenfo Zong Kasogatan (ZFZ Kasogatan)
  • Majelis Agama Buddha Tantrayana Satya Buddha Indonesia (Madha Tantri)
  • Lembaga Keagamaan Buddha Indonesia (LKBI)
  • Majelis Agama Buddha Mahanikaya Indonesia (MBMI)
  • Majelis Agama Buddha Guang Ji Indonesia (MABGI)
  • Majelis Palpung Thubten Choekhorling Palpung Dhamchoe Wosel Ling (PALPUNG)


Several Hindu religious organizations in Indonesia include:

  • Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI)
  • Wanita Hindu Dharma Indonesia (WHDI)
  • Prajaniti Hindu Indonesia
  • Perhimpunan Pemuda Hindu Indonesia (Peradah)
  • Kesatuan Mahasiswa Hindu Dharma Indonesia (KMHDI)
  • Pinandita Sanggraha Nusantara (PSN)
  • Ikatan Cendekiawan Hindu Indonesia (ICHI)
  • Perkumpulan Dosen Hindu Indonesia (DHI)
  • Perkumpulan Acarya Hindu Nusantara (Pandu Nusa)
  • Perkumpulan Pendidik Pasraman Indonesia (P3I)


As one of the recognized religions in Indonesia, Confucianism is represented by organizations such as:

  • Majelis Tinggi Agama Khonghucu (Matakin)

These organizations contribute significantly to Indonesia's cultural, educational, and social development, reflecting the nation's rich religious diversity.