Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia

Collection with 15 media items created by Jeffrey Bright

13 Jan 2011 11:00

The U.N Minamata Convention on Mercury is scheduled to be adopted and opened for signature at a Conference of Plenipotentiaries (Diplomatic Conference) in Kumamoto and Minamata, Japan from 10 to 11 October 2013.
The booming price of gold in recent years has triggered a significant growth in small-scale mining where mercury is used to separate gold from the ore-bearing rock. Workers and their families involved in small-scale gold mining are exposed to mercury pollution in several ways including through inhalation during the smelting. Mercury is also being released into river systems from these small-scale operations where it can contaminate fish, the food chain and people downstream.
Although the use of mercury for small-scale gold mining is banned in Indonesia, it's difficult to enforce. And there's a hope that the forthcoming ratification of the U.N.'s convention will mean international assistance to help miners change the way they work. Today Indonesia ranks behind only China in the use of mercury in gold mining.

The tradition of mining gold started at least as early as the first millennium BC. Sought after since the beginning of recorded history, gold remains a highly valued metal, reaching record highs on September 2011, Gold prices peaked at $1,921 an ounce. Gold prices rose as investors worried about the potential for another U.S. recession. Recently the bank lifted its gold price outlook for 2013 to $1,446 per ounce from $1,396, and kept its 2014 forecast unchanged at $1,435 an ounce.
This rise in the price of and demand for gold has created a gold rush since the mid 2000 across Ghana, Brazil, Peru and Indonesia to name but a few.There are an estimated 10-15 million unregulated gold miners around the world, operating in 70 countries. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest informal producers of this precious metal.
Currently, Indonesia produces around four percent of global gold production. In Indonesia the government estimates there are 62,000 illegal miners across the country, twice the number working legally.
But it also seeks to recognize the rights of indigenous miners and calls on legal mining firms to provide more help to local communities. One of those local communities is Presanggaran as small town located just east of mount Tumpang Pitu in Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia.
The mine has been in operation since June 2009 and local villagers have begun protesting because the waste produced by the mine is polluting the environment.
The gold mine in Tumpang Pitu which is a nature conservation area has sparked controversy in connection with threats to wildlife around the protected forest. Also the contamination by ore and mercury is a menace to the life and productivity of the local community.

Documentary Photo Essay Banyuwangi Camp Illegal Camp Damage Debt Crisis Forest Deforestation East Java Environment Gold Gold Mine Gold Mines Gold Mining Gold Miner Illegal Gold... Miner Mine Gold Price Gold Rush Gold Stock M... Hard Labor Illegal Indonesia Mercury Mountain Panning Per Ounce Pollution Traditional Tunnel Underground Us Dollar Chisel Tumpang Pitu Pesanggaran Asia Asian South East Asia U.N Minamata... Mercury Pois... Smelting Contaminate

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
13 Jan 2011

Illegal gold miner Ali searches for traces of gold at base of tunnel approx. 35 meters underground.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
13 Jan 2011

Illegal gold miner Supar examines a small sample of rock to check for gold, where Ali is digging.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
13 Jan 2011

Illegal miner Ali relaxes outside tunnel before his next shift begins. Miners usuallly work in shifts with two or three miners below ground and two above. This is done for general safety. One keeping an eye on those working below, while others watch the camp from above ground.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
13 Jan 2011

Illegal gold miners begin digging a new tunnel. In Indonesia the government estimates there are 62,000 illegal miners across the country, twice the number working legally.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Bunyawangi Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Miners pan for traces of gold from the top soil near one of the working tunnels. Illegal gold mine.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Illegal gold miner pans for gold. Tumpang Pitu in Banyuwangi, East Java.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Illegal gold miner Ali works at the base of tunnel approx. 35 meters underground.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Ali and Supar illegal gold miners climbing into tunnel, the tunnel is approx. 35 meters deep. It has taken them a year to get to this depth. Supar estimates in the last year they have discovered 1 to 1 ½ kg of gold in their tunnel.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Illegal gold miner Ali works at the base of tunnel approx. 35 meters underground. Working long hours in cramped humid conditions with poor ventilation.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Illegal miner Ali holds head lamp searching for traces of gold in the rock, at the base of tunnel. As the tunnel becomes deeper the rock has become harder and more difficult to mine.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Illegal gold miner works at the base of tunnel approx. 35 meters underground.

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Illegal Gold Mines Indonesia
Banyuwangi, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
14 Jan 2011

Illegal miner Ali checks for traces of gold in the rock, at the bottom of tunnel. Working long hours in cramped humid conditions.