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ASGM Projects: Indonesia
ASGM Projects: Indonesia

Reducing Mercury Supply and
Availability in Indonesia

BRI and Nexus3, in collaboration with other nongovernmental organizations, is leading this three-year project, the purpose of which is to support the Government of Indonesia in restricting mercury supplies, especially for the artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector.

Principle Investigators

David Evers, Ph.D.
Biodiversity Research Institute, USA

Yuyun Ismawati
Nexus3 Foundation, Indonesia

A Collaborative Project to Reduce Mercury

A COLLABORATIVE PROJECT TO REDUCE MERCURY


BRI and the Nexus3 Foundation, in collaboration with other nongovernmental organizations, are leading a three-year project, the purpose of which is to support the Government of Indonesia in restricting mercury supplies, especially for the artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector.

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ASGM and Mercury

ASGM and Mercury

Miners use mercury to extract gold particles that have been ground and liberated from rock. Mercury and gold bind together forming an amalgam. During the amalgamation process, mercury can be released directly into adjacent terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems because of inadequate handling of the liquid mercury. Mercury vapor is also released into the atmosphere when the mercury-gold amalgam is burned. The release of mercury creates a high risk of human exposure and also impacts adjacent terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

 
Project Components

Project Components

Project efforts include:

  • Legal/regulatory/policy action to restrict mercury supplies from primary mining and mercury by-products from the oil and gas sector (OG);
  • Developing and piloting Local Action Plans (LAPs) to reduce and eliminate mercury in ASGM, that include safe handling, interim or temporary storage, and long-term storage of mercury and cinnabar ore to demobilize them/prevent them from being recirculated to the market; and
  • Biomonitoring to determine the magnitude of human and ecological health impacts and prioritize generation and site selection of LAPs
 to ultimately track project effectiveness.

 

Photo: Heating the solid mercury-gold amalgam vaporizes the mercury, leaving gold nuggets behind. 

Indonesian Project Sites

The Project Team has chosen four sites to initiate action plans that would include changing the use of mercury and subsequent monitoring to evaluate environmental and human health:

  1. Bombana in Sulawesi 
  2. Landak in Kalimantan
  3. Mandailing Natal in Sumatra
  4. West Sumbawa and West Lombok
 

Inception Workshop

     

The Inception Workshop was held in Jakarta in July 2019, bringing together collaborators from across Indonesia and the world. Above (left), Dave Evers leads the workshop, and (right) breakout groups work to outline details of the project.

Expected Results/Timeline

Expected Results/Timeline

(1) Assist the development of national plans and policy to restrict mercury supplies from primary mining and mercury by-products from oil and gas, and identify secure storage to reduce the availability of mercury. Project team will work with GOI authorities to:

  • Prepare and adopt needed amendments to the National Implementation Plan (NIP) and Roadmap for Mercury to include prohibitions on cinnabar mining, recirculation of mercury from oil and gas and mining sectors, and export of mercury. (Yr 1)
  • Develop and adopt policy guidance prohibitions on cinnabar mining throughout the country, and on recirculation of mercury recovered from by-products of oil and gas and mining sectors to the market. (Yr 1)
  • Develop policy guidance and/or legislation to prohibit export of elemental mercury and cinnabar ore from the country. (Yr 1)
  • Advise relevant ministries to revise/update regulations to support the recommendations of this project. (Yr 3)
  • Assist Government with implementation and monitoring of policies and/or legislation. (Yrs 2-3)

(2) Develop and implement multiple local plans for handling, interim storage, and final storage of mercury and cinnabar ore. The project team will work with GOI authorities to:

  • Elaborate the NIP into multiple Local Action Plans (LAPs) to reduce and eliminate mercury to include safe handling, interim storage, and final storage of mercury and cinnabar ore. (Yr 1-2)
  • Build central and local government capacity, including law enforcement agencies, to handle and store mercury that has been removed from ASGM activities as part of LAPs. (Yr 2)
  • Implement one or more LAPs as pilot projects to test for wider implementation throughout Indonesia in potential sites to be determined. (Yrs 2-3)

(3) Develop and implement approaches to monitor compliance with and effectiveness of national and local plans. The project team will work with GOI authorities to:

  • Develop and implement approaches to monitor national implementation and LAPs including review and monitoring of the mercury inventory report of Indonesia. (Yr 1)
  • Develop and implement approaches to conduct biomonitoring activities at the LAP sites to determine project effectiveness based on protection of human and ecological health. (Yrs 1-3)

 

Photo: Consumption of fish and other animals connected to mercury emissions and releases of ASGM activities is the primary source of methylmercury exposure for humans.

 

Lead Project Investigators

Principle Investigators

David Evers, Ph.D.
Biodiversity Research Institute, USA

Yuyun Ismawati
Nexus3 Foundation, Indonesia

Team Members

IPEN, Lee Bell, Australia

Center for Regulation, Policy, and Governance (CRPG)
Dyah Paramita, Oman

Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GITOC)
Marcena Hunter, Australia

Biodiversity Research Institute
Molly Taylor, USA
Mark Burton, USA

Nexus3 Foundation
Krishna Zaki, Indonesia
Yune Eribowo, Indonesia
Sonia Buftheim, Indonesia
Mochamad Tio Septiono, USA
Dita Purnamaningsih, Indonesia

Project Funding

PROJECT FUNDING

United States Department of State

Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

 
Photo Credits: Header Photo: Padar Island, Indonesia © Sarinee58-shutterstock; Gold vein stock photo; Burning mercury-gold amalgam by Kemal Jufri courtesy Balifokus. Balinese fishmarket © Eo-naya
Biodiversity Research Institute