TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Two arrested as mercury poisoning plagues North Sumatra’s El Dorado

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Medan   /   Sat, December 28, 2019   /  05:03 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
A miner pans for gold in Batang Limun River in Sarolangun, Jambi. The traditional practice of gold extraction is hard to find nowadays as illegal miners are relying on machines that use mercury that refine more quickly. (JP/Jon Afrizal)

Two suspects have been arrested in Mandailing Natal regency, North Sumatra, for selling mercury, a hazardous chemical compound widely used in the area’s small-scale gold mining, which allegedly polluted water, causing birth defects. North Sumatra Police special crimes director Sr. Comr. Rony Samtana said Friday the arrests were made following a tipoff about the suspects’ location in Penyabungan Julu Pasar Lama village, Penyabungan district. “Our team went to the location and arrested the two suspects who were selling mercury to illegal miners,” he said. Unlicensed small-scale gold mining has been a major source of income for residents in the regency in the past decade, but it has recently come under the spotlight after reports of babies being born with deformities caused by mercury poisoning. Along with the arrests, the police seized two jugs bran...