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Coal mining is known for its contributions to climate change, but its impacts on the environment and human lives near mine sites are less widely recognised. This study integrates remote sensing, GIS, stakeholder interviews and extensive review of provincial data and documents to identify patterns of infringement, risk and impact driven by coal mining expansion across East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Specifically, we map and analyse patterns of mining concessions, land clearing, water cover, human settlement, and safety risks, and link them with mining governance and regulatory infractions related to coal mining permits. We show that excessive, improper permit granting and insufficient monitoring and oversight have led to deforestation, widespread overlaps of concessions with settlements, extensive boundary and regulatory violations, lacking reclamation, and numerous deaths. As the world’s largest thermal coal exporter, Indonesia’s elevated coal infringements, risks, and impacts translate to supply chain, sustainability, and human rights concerns for global coal markets. © 2023, The Author(s).

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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