John Beveridge July 11, 2007 12:00am
THEY say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
And our Indonesian neighbours are planning to do just that as mud continues to ooze out of a crater near Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya in East Java.
While the mud has caused billions of dollars of damage and inundated the homes of 15,000 families, Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar still has plans for the area.
He claims the hundreds of hectares of land covered by the sludge could be used to raise catfish.
The mud volcano started in May last year after a drilling incident by oil and gas explorer Lapindo Brantas.
Mr Witoelar said while the government was still trying to stem or stop the mud flow, that might prove impossible.
So far all attempts to stop the mud have failed and some experts think it could flow for many years.
Mr Witoelar said long-term plans had to be made and it had been proven that catfish could be raised in ponds made of the mud.
He claims the plan would provide jobs for the thousands of victims.
Australian oil and gas company Santos is an 18 per cent partner in the gas exploration well and has already paid about $29 million in compensation.
The mud flow has been estimated at around 150,000 cubic metres a day.