Tin Fever in Indonesia

Collection with 45 media items created by Steven Wassenaar

05 Dec 2012 05:00

Famous for its tin deposits, paradisiacal Indonesian island Bangka is destroyed by a tin rush that is the direct consequence of the success of smartphones like IPhone and tablets like Ipad. More and more tin is needed to produce these devices, and every year Indonesia extracts 110,000 tons of tin. Due to a strong demand from manufacturers (such as Samsung and Apple), thousands of Indonesians want to benefit from the high tin prices.

"The number of illegal tin mines, on land or offshore, has increased dramatically because everyone wants a piece of the pie. We believe there are about ten thousand mines today", said Uday Ratno, director of the local NGO Walhi - Friends of the Earth. Illegal tin mining is a very dangerous activity and and accidents occur frequently. According to Utay Radno,every year, between 100 and 150 miners drown in the sea, die in landslides or from diseases (cancer, malaria).
"It's a dangerous job,we know that. But I have to earn a living to support my family", Abuysaid, a miner of 57 years old. The myriads of abandoned mines form - like a war landscape - dangerous polluted mining pits filled with water. Desi's two children, Juni and Abdul, 3 and 4 years old, drowned in such an abandoned pit.

The environment is severely damaged: Bangka Island is disfigured. Mines and craters are everywhere: along roads, in the middle of the jungle, off the coast and even in the gardens in front of houses. It is as if meteors have hit the whole island. Environmental organisations are warning for the consequences, and pointing out the devastation of the landscape, the pollution of the soil, the rivers and the sea with heavy metals and the damage done to underwater wildlife and flora. The miners who work on the sea on makeshift rafts dig for tin by sucking the sand from the sea floor. Some species of fish have already disappeared. Fisherman are obliged to fish far away from the coast in the hope to catch enough fish, says Tjong Ling Siaw, leader of the fishermen on the island. Hotel owners complain about a decline in tourism because of "dirty sea water and noise pollution".

Like the illegal "blood mineral" mining in South Kivu in DR Congo, Bangka is an evidence of the indirect consequences of the commercial success of big technology players who refuse to take responsibility- through actions like mineral tracking or environmental repair and health programs - for the damage that is done to people and the environment.

This reportage is a journey to the heart of the illegal and legal tin mines in Indonesia. I shared the lives of miners who explain why they chose to do this job and sometimes put their lives at risk for a few pounds of tin.

Indonesia Illegal Mining Pollution Dangerous Labor Tourism Destruction Fish Deaths Child Labor Devastated L... Smartphones Exploitation I Phone Samsung Ipad Apple

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Tin Fever in Indonesia 41
By Steven Wassenaar
05 Dec 2012

A miner is working in a huge illegal tin mine in Batako, Tunghin. The mine has completely devastated the once green landscape of the island. This tin rush is a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. It is used as the solder that binds components in electronics such as tablet computers and smartphones.

Le côté caché du succès des smartphones. Des mineurs travaillent dans une grande mine d'étain illégale à Batako - Tunghin qui a complètement dévasté un paysage qui était autrefois verte. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain sauvages, une conséquence directe du succès des smartphones et tablettes comme les iPhones et les iPads d'Apple ou Samsung. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.

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Tin Fever in Indonesia 42
By Steven Wassenaar
05 Dec 2012

Miners sift sand in search of tin in an illegal tin mine in Reboh, Bangka Island, Indonesia. Tin mines have devastated the landscape of the island. This tin rush is a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. The demand for tin has significantly increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets.

Mineurs tamisent du sable dans une Mine d'étain illégale à Reboh, île de Bangka (Indonésie). L'île est dévastée par cette ruée d'étain mortelle, une conséquence directe du succès des smartphones et tablettes comme les iPhones et les iPads d'Apple ou Samsung. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.

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Tin Fever in Indonesia 43
By Steven Wassenaar
04 Dec 2012

Santo, 30, a tin miner, digs in his own garden to find tin sand. He manages to collect up to 3 kilos of tin per day. This illegal tin mine is the only source of income for his family in Mapur, Bangka Island, Indonesia. The demand for tin has increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets. Illegal tin mining causes environmental damage, and kills hundreds of miners every year.

Santo (30 ans), un mineur d'étain, creuse dans son jardin pour trouver de l'étain, il trouve jusqu'à 3 kilos par jour. Cette mine d'étain illégale est la seule source de revenus pour sa famille dans Mapur, île de Bangka (Indonésie). La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes. Les Mines illégales son la cause des dommages écologiques, des blessés graves et décès (100 - 150 tous les ans) chez les mineurs.

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Tin Fever in Indonesia 44
By Steven Wassenaar
05 Dec 2012

Yoyok, 55, in the illegal tin mine in Reboh. Yoko has been working as a tin miner since 2000. Illegal tin mines have devastated the Bangka Island. The demand for tin has increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets. Illegal tin mining causes environmental damage, injuries and regular casualties. Approximately 100 to 150 miners die every year.

Yoyok (55 ans) cherche de l'étain depuis 2000. Mine d'étain illégale à Reboh. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain sauvages. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes. Les Mines illégales son la cause des dommages écologiques, des blessés graves et décès (100 - 150 tous les ans)....

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Tin Fever in Indonesia 45
By Steven Wassenaar
05 Dec 2012

Miners work in a huge illegal tin mine in Batako, Tunghin. Working conditions in tin mines are extremely difficult and dangerous. Miners risk their life every day diving or digging for tin. The exploitation of the mine has completely devastated the once green landscape of the island. Mines are everywhere: in backyards, in the forest, on the side of the road, out at sea.

This tin rush is a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. The demand for tin has significantly increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets.

Des mineurs travaillent dans une grande mine d'étain illégale à Batako - Tunghin qui a complètement dévasté un paysage qui était autrefois verte. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain sauvages, une conséquence directe du succès des smartphones et tablettes comme les iPhones et les iPads d'Apple ou Samsung. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.