Sime Darby: Satellite data confirms no fires at our areas

PETALING JAYA - Satellite data has confirmed that there are no fires raging at Sime Darby Plantation areas in Indonesia, the company said.

"Sime Darby Plantation has provided satellite data of hotspots, matched against its own concession area map to the relevant authorities.

"The data confirms that there are no fires on the operating areas in Indonesia," Sime Darby Bhd said in a statement yesterday.

Sime Darby Plantation, it said, had reviewed hotspot data from a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) satellite for the period between May 25 and June 25 and overlaid the company's own global positioning system map of the concession areas under PT Tunggal Mitra Plantation (TMP) and PT Bhumireksa Nusa Sejati (PT BNS) in Riau.

"The matching of the hotspot data and the maps of the concession areas showed that all hotspots were outside of PT TMP's concession.

"There were three hotspots within PT BNS' concession area. However, they are located outside of the company's operating area.

"As explained previously, local communities occupy and plant both cash crops such as corn, sugar cane and pineapple, as well as perennial crops such as coconut and areca nuts on these lands," it added.

The company also said the Nasa satellite had outdated information on its land concession areas, which it said had been reduced after the final land licensing process was conclu­ded.

"The Nasa satellite showed PT BNS' concession area as 180,392ha when it is in fact only 25,662ha. Of this, 18,688ha are the actual planted area and 1,530ha the company's residential and development areas. The remaining land is now mostly occupied by local communities.

"There were also discrepancies with regard to PT TMP's concession area. Data from the satellite states the size of the company's concession area as 38,473ha when the actual area is only 13,836ha, out of which 2,474ha are occupied by local communities."

According to the statement, Sime Darby Plantation would publish and submit the findings to the Roundta­ble on Sustainable Palm Oil as well as cooperate with local authorities to manage hotspots and fires in the interest of its workers, the public and the environment.

The company also reiterated its commitment to a zero burning policy throughout all its operations worldwide, adding that this has been a practice since 1985.

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