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Jakarta Post

Mercury to blame for birth defects in Mandailing Natal

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Fri, November 22 2019   /  12:46 am

The use of mercury in illegal gold mining activities in Mandailing Natal regency, North Sumatra, has reportedly affected the physical well-being of newborns in the region, resulting in five deaths and numerous birth defects over the past couple of years.Mandailing Natal Regent Dahlan Nasution alleged that local gold miners had been processing gold ores using galundung, a machine operated with the use of certain chemicals such as mercury. According to the local administration’s records, 700 to 1,000 galundung are operated in the regency, he said.“In the past two years, five newborns have had fatal birth defects. The number of infants born with deformities must be connected to the illegal gold mining activities across Mandailing Natal,” Dahlan wrote to North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi on Wednesday in an official letter, a copy of which was received by The Jakarta Post.Among ...