There are hundreds of gurandil digging a 125-meter-deep hole in Jendi village, Selogiri district, Wonogiri regency, Central Java. They dig the hole and extract rock before processing it using mercury to get the gold dust.
Yes, they are traditional gold miners, usually called gurandil in the Sundanese language, which literally means gold chest. They usually spend five hours in the mine – located across more than 500 hectares of land and hills – to get the gold. They can get 0.5 grams of gold each day. If lucky, they can buy a new motorcycle – which costs around Rp 20 million (US$15,000).
“We earn more money than [factory] laborers,” said one of the gurandils.
Entering Nglenggong village, visitors can see there is a dynamo in each house. Some villagers prefer not to mine due to the risks, so they rent the dynamo to the gold miners for Rp 500,000 per month.
Since the village’s soil is not productive enough for farming, the farmers choose gold mining as it enables them to live decently. [yan]