Rantau Pulut is a town that sits along the Seruyan River just 10 km from the IMP mineralization zone. It is located in the Kabupaten (Regency) of Seruyan, in the province of Central Kalimantan, and is designated a “Kecamatan.” While quite small, it is the seat of the sub-regency of Seruyan Tengah, which sub-regency has a population of around 25,000 people. The Kecamatan itself has a population of around 8,000 people, with the town itself having approximately 4,000 residents.
The satellite photos below show that the Seruyan River is the primary point of contract with the “outside world,” as it extends down to Kumai Port near Pangkalan Bun. While locals can use the same provincial roads used by IMP for hauling, it is much quicker to travel via speed boat down to the more urbanized areas.
A housing count shows there are approximately 500 homes for a population of approximately 4,000 people. Rantau Pulut is actually a part of a larger community extending along the river north and south of Rantau Pulut proper, including villages named Rantau Pulut, Bukit Bai, Bukit Buluh, and Mugi Panyuhun. IMP understands that the total population within 10 km of the IMP concession is in the range of 8,000 people, which population is what IMP considers to be its neighbors. However, there are many more people living in the surrounding area working and living on large Palm Oil plantations or framing their own plots of land.
Rantau Pulut and the Surrounding area is primarily populated by members of the Dayak tribe, generally considered to descend from an Austronesian migration from Asia some 3,000 years ago. The original citizens of Rantau Pulut are of the Ngaju tribe of Dayak indigenous to the area, though there are also those from the Barito tribe and others within the broader umbrella of Dayak.
The primary driver of culture in Rantau Pulut is religion and traditional Dayak practice. Among the indigenous population of Dayaks, most are Roman Catholics, as is the case with most “inland” Dayak. Some Dayak who originate from the coasts area Muslim, and there continue to be those who practice the traditional Dayak religion of Kaharingan, which is considered a form of Hinduism. In Rantau Pulut, as in most of Kalimantan, the various religious groups within the Dayak tribe coexist comfortably because most Dayaks continue to participate in traditional activities associated with Dayak culture that bind them in their similarities over their differences.
Parallel to this strong Dayak traditional culture, Rantau Pulut is increasingly “connected” to the worlds through modern conveniences like television, banking, consumer product distribution, power boats, motorcycles, cars and trucks, and most recently by smartphones connecting to the Telkomsel network, allowing those living in Rantau Pulut to engage with the worl through Facebook and other social media. This is a particularly so for the young people Rantau Pulut.
Rantau Pulut has three government schools allowing students to graduate SD (Elementary School), go on to SMP (Middle School), and then complete SMA (High School). Unfortunately, as typical for remote locations, most children may complete SD, but only approximately a half of children attend SMP, and only around 10% of children go on to SMA. College education is out of reach for most. In addition to government schools, which are free for SD, require fees for SMP and SMA (contributing to the low attendance rate). While there is an Islamic boarding school named Mi Nurul Iman, which provides non-boarding school education for Muslim elementary school students in town, and provides boarding school in a location approximately 20 km northeast of the village, the level of higher level education remains low. See Our CSR Goals.
Rantau Pulut has a government run clinic to serve its approximately 2,000 residents (called Puskesmas Rantau Pulut I – see map for its location below). Another clinic is located south approximately 15 kilometers (called Puskesmas Rantau Pulut II). For Rantau Pulut and the surrounding area, there are two primary challenges in regards to health care: First, that there is a lack of trained medical staff, and second, that the community is spread out around thousands of square kilometers, and often far from the clinics that can serve them. While there is no easy solution to the difficulty of providing health care to a dispersed population, IMP will be offering what assistance it can to make health care more available. See Our CSR Goals.
Rantau Pulut and the surrounding community that are neighbors of IMP have traditionally struggled economically. Most families would normally have one or two members working and living on a nearby Palm Oil plantation. To understand the struggle of most people, one must understand the Palm Oil economy, and specifically that the current effort to undermine Palm Oil for biofuel and as a food, has significantly harmed the Palm Oil economy, resulting in lower wages and fewer job opportunities.
As always, the independent farmer and share cropper is another key element of the economic mix. While smaller land owners will farm their own land, those that have a larger amount of good land to form will often practice share cropping with limited success due to low prices on farm foods and difficult distribution channels. The result is a large population of low income farm workers who must live near to the land, and thus live far from the schools their children could benefit from and far from the clinics that could help improve their health.
Ten years ago, it was thought that Iron Ore would provide the community with increased prosperity. However, when the global prices for Iron ore dropped, many mining jobs were lost, which had a direct impact on the community. IMP intends to develop a sustainable, long term operation providing opportunities for the greater food of the community to last over the next fifty to sixty years. For our initial plans, see Our CSR Goals.
Rantau Pulut is located on a good size river, which means much of the transportation down to Kumai Port of Pangkalan Bun is via water way using small power boats and even small barges (200 metric ton capacity). Still, the roads that travel through IMP and through a number of large Palm Oil plantations is commonly used when residents need to go to Pangkalan Bun.
IMP will be using the same roads to travel to its own jetty, and will thus be maintaining all roads within its own concession –roads that the local people will likely use. In addition, IMP will ensure provincial roads that it utilizes for hauling are maintained. See Our CSR Goals.