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Jakarta Post

Gold mining causes mercury pollution in West Sumbawa

  • Panca Nugraha

    The Jakarta Post

West Sumbawa   /   Fri, January 31 2020   /  12:55 am
Gold crush: Sahnip (right), a worker at a small-scale mine in Lamunga Atas village, West Sumbawa regency, West Nusa Tenggara, crushes gold-laden rocks with her son. Many residents of the village work at unlicensed mines in the area. (JP/Panca Nugraha)(right), a worker at a small-scale mine in Lamunga Atas village, West Sumbawa regency, West Nusa Tenggara, crushes gold-laden rocks with her son. Many residents of the village work at unlicensed mines in the area. (JP/Panca Nugraha)

Gold crush: Sahnip (right), a worker at a small-scale mine in Lamunga Atas village, West Sumbawa regency, West Nusa Tenggara, crushes gold-laden rocks with her son. Many residents of the village work at unlicensed mines in the area. (JP/Panca Nugraha)Small-scale gold mining has caused concerns in West Sumbawa regency, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), due to the massive use of mercury and cyanide, which can cause health and environmental problems.Limited job opportunities and lower income from farming have caused residents to turn to illegal mining.“I have been working like this since 2014, since the gold mine has been here,” said Sahnip, 42, a resident of Lamunga Atas in Kayu Putih village, as she crushed rocks into smaller pieces using a hammer of some 5 kilograms in weight.She said she got Rp 10,000 (73 US cents) for each sack of crushed rock. In a day she can fill between 15 and 20 sacks...