Romang Islands

Moluccas Romang Islands

romang islands, romang, njata, mitan,

Roma 1.700 Christian
Roma Island north of Timor Island, Jerusu village. Alternate names: Romang.


Romang “The Golden” Island

Romang and Kisar are neighbouring islands in the Moluccas, lying to the east of East Timor.  Lacking an airstrip, Romang is only accessible by boat, which takes four hours from Kisar. Kisar has an airstrip and is thus accessible by chartered flight from Kupang as well as by sea.

In addition to being a centre for logistics, Kisar is the administrative centre for the district- level government and will therefore play an important role in the development of Romang.

From Romang, small boats or passenger ships are used to travel to Kisar, Makassar or Ambon. There is a regular ferry (Perintis) that is scheduled to stop fortnightly at the jetty at Hila on a Wednesday.

There are no motorized vehicles at all on Romang, with the exception of one motorcycle cart. People cross the island on foot, sometimes with the assistance of pack ponies to carry loads. Small boats are used to circumnavigate the island and all of the settlements are on the coast.

Seasonal Winds

Seasonal winds have a major impact on access to Romang. The easterly wind that prevails from December to February causes ocean swells that prevent any seafaring for three months. This seriously disrupts the supply of basic commodities such as sugar, rice, and oil: such goods are all brought from Sulawesi by trading vessels.

From May to July there are westerly winds and the seas become calmer, making it possible to cross by small boat to Kisar. This is followed by the dry season, which begins in August, during which the sea is relatively calm.

Community Livelihoods at Romang Island

Subsistence Agriculture


Most of the people living on Romang are farmers. They plant corn, yams, cassava, sago, vegetables, and dry rice. They do not use fertilizer for their plants because they find it unsuitable for the soil. Tubers, bananas, and vegetables are also planted in the rice field. Corn is grown separately from rice, but is also a major part of the staple diet. The sago palm is used both for food and also for roofing and building materials.

From August to September there is a dry season. During this time, people start to clear their fields and prepare farmland for planting. Each family plants 1 – 2 hectares of rice per year, with one rice harvest per year. In addition, they cultivate coconuts, and harvest forest and marine resources. Being island communities, they find it easy to catch fish, but unfortunately, as the nearest market is at Kisar, fishing is usually nothing more than a subsistence activity. This is surprising, due to the natural abundance of marine resources available.

These communities have traditionally raised pigs and chickens, and have now also started to raise goats, cows, and horses. Poultry and livestock are raised in the traditional manner and the animals seem healthy and robust. Fortuitously for those families raising chickens, the island has not experienced any avian influenza outbreaks to date. The village head in Hila himself has experience in raising chickens and pigs using intensive systems in Ambon. He believes the village would certainly benefit from training programs for these livelihood activities, as they have never received any such training from the department of agriculture.

Harvesting and Processing
In November, after the planting season, most people on the island are engaged in harvesting wild nutmeg from the forest. The nutmeg harvest is a profitable economic activity: one family member can get Rp.1.5 million at minimum, by working alone for one month.

At certain other times of the year, each community will come together to make copra, which is processed from coconut oil. This product is sold to Surabaya or Makassar.

Other Economic Activities
In addition to harvesting coconuts, the villages of Solath and Jerusu have recently begun harvesting seaweed. This is a new activity that has been promoted by the department of fisheries using long-line cultivation techniques. It is proving to be a profitable activity in these villages. In Solath, the community can harvest 15 tonnes of seaweed every 40 days.

The seaweed is purchased for the overseas market by traders from who arrive from Makassar. They pay around Rp.8,000 (about one aussie dollar) per kg. for the kelp. Harvests have already been conducted successfully several times in the village. The fisheries department is now also providing training in sea-slug harvesting (teripang) to the village of Jerusu.


Gold Mining

The Lakuwahi Project hosts a large 6Km by 4Km zone of Magnetite Destruction Zone (MDZ), where to date, Robust has focused on three prospects found within it: Batu Mas, Batu Hitam, and Batu Jagung. In September 2010 Robust reported significant progreromang-01ss on the delineation of the Batu Mas and Batu Hitam discoveries on Romang Island, Indonesia. Initial results from a major 3D IP-Resistivity survey over the flagship Lakuwahi target, as well as new drilling results, significantly extends the discovery target zones and therefore the gold and base metal resource potential and that technical work on Romang Island had reached a crucial stage with the completion of the initial 3D IP-Resistivity survey only days away.
Robust is continuing with its 3D IP Resistivity Survey which defined in July 2010 the continuity of a 2km strike between key prospects Batu Mas and Batu Hitam and identified a well defined geophysical anomaly area that remains open and is approximately 20 times larger than the current defined Batu Mas prospect. These initial results have greatly enhanced Robust’s understanding of the mineralisation controls at Lakuwahi and have not only defined new drill targets, which the Company’s four owner operated rigs are currently working on, but has massively extended the discovery target zones and therefore, the gold and base metal potential.
At the end of July 2011 Robust had completed over 150 drill holes at the Batu Mas, Batu Hitam and Batu Jagung prospects since the Company commenced its initial drill program in November 2008. To date Robust has achieved a +90% success rates with drill holes intersecting precious and/or base metal mineralisation. Given total drilling is still less than 1% of the MDZ, the potential scope for Lakuwahi to host a major new gold resource is very high. The Company is currently undertaking a +27,000 m drill program.

Metallurgical test works at both the Batu Hitam and Batu Mas Prospects have detailed that:
• Average Gold recovery = 94% (range 88%-98%)
• Average Silver recovery = 95% (range 90%-100%)

Detailed Results of Lakuwahi Metallurgical Test work
Metallurgical tests are the first in a series of tests that will lead to the selection of the optimum process flow sheet for the Lakuwahi ore. The results are positive in that they clearly indicate that the near-surface Lakuwahi ore is free milling and that it will not require expensive treatment options such as a floatation and pressure oxidation process. It should be noted that the ores treated at Billiton’s gold mines on nearby Wetar Island (Kali Kuning and Lerokis – now mined out) were also free milling and achieved very high gold and silver recoveries with a very simple and relatively inexpensive plant. Based on the Lakuwahi results to date, there is reason to expect that treatment of Lakuwahi ores will be low-cost, allowing the profitable mining and treatment of low grades.

Historic Exploration
Recognising geological similarities to their gold-barite mines on Wetar Island, Billiton explored and drilled the Lakuwahi prospect in the late 90s. Despite clear indications of a very large mineralising system and an 80 percent hit-rate in scout drilling, historic low metal prices and a corporate move away from gold found Billiton discontinuing the exploration programme.

Timeline of Romang Exploration
1989: Ashton Mining Recognised Lakuwahi as a follow up target but no further work undertaken 1998-99: Billiton heli-magnetometer / Radiometer, Soil Geochemistry, Geological Mapping 1998-99: Billiton; 14 scout holes for 2,424 metres. All holes intersected alteration / mineralisation 2000: Billiton pulled out of gold exploration and Indonesia low commodity prices & political turmoil 2006: PT GBU Granted five General Survey KPs 2008- 2010: ongoing: Robust Resources extensive drilling program with four rigs operational at July 2010 2009-2011: Geological Mapping, Induced Polarisation (IP) Resistivity, Ground Magnetometer, Bulk Sampling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *