Illegal mercury used in small-scale gold mining damages Indonesian lands

Puncak area, West Java Wikimedia Puncak area, West Java

Many developed nations hope 2014 can finally be the year when a real fight against the use of mercury in gold mining across the world starts. However, until then, several countries like Indonesia will continue to suffer the consequences of this and other dangerous techniques.

The small-scale, and many times illegal, gold mining operations spread across the country are responsible for the contamination of the local soil, water and air. They are equally responsible for the damages inflicted to the health of the miners, some of them very young children without any other choice.

The New York Times recently told the world how these small and apparently harmless operations run in Indonesia. They used the example of a young 15-year-old worker named David Mario Chandra to kick-off their story, saying how gold mining is changing the face of places like the remote mountains of West Java.

A workshop next to his family’s house in Cisitu, in Banten Province, contains machinery that turns gold ore into usable nuggets. The procedure seems simple enough: The crushed ore ….Read more

Pra river in Ghana can become chemically contaminated if the government doesn’t act against illegal mining


Ghana’s government is determined to fight the scourge of illegal mining in the country, especially its scientifically proven consequences to the health of the people that live near the mining areas, announced the vice-president. But what can they really do to stop this disaster?

According to Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, “the issue of illegal mining is not just a simple one of the origin of the people engaging in it. It is about the environmental impact of the activity on human beings. So whether a Ghanaian or foreigner is engaging in illegal mining, a problem is being created”.

“I have seen a report by apprehensive scientist on the consequences of illegal mining on water quality; water that is unsafe for domestic use and unhealthy to support fish and other aquatic life, of degraded land unable to produce food, pools of water serving as mosquito breeding sites and child delinquencies”, said the vice-president during the 5th congregation of the University of Mines and Technology at Tarkwa, in the western region of Ghana.

One of the biggest problems caused by this activity is the use of mercury, which is ….Read more

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