Government To Replace Mercury with Cyanide on Gold Mining

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Gold extraction. Photo:

Jakarta (Greeners) – Indonesian government will promote cyanide use to replace mercury in its no-mercury gold mining campaign for people’s mining areas, an official said in Jakarta, Wednesday (08/03).

Purwasto Soro Prayogo, Head of Toxic and Dangerous Materials Convention Implementation Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said that they were perfecting the non-mercury gold mining.

Gold cyanide or MacArthur-Forrest process is a metallurgy technical to extract gold from low grade ore to complex gold material. The technique most common used for gold extraction.

“The current process is perfecting the test by setting up the institution responsible in operating the device. It can be in the form of cooperation for miners,” said Prayogo. “Afterwards, the government will also establish and ensure working mechanism, from the process of extracting the materials, profit sharing system on operational, market mechanism to run by establishing monitoring mechanism and reporting from regional and central.”

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Indonesia, he added, was finalizing Minamata Convention which had entered initial submission phase. In addition, the government targeted the ratification to be signed in 2018 as it’s already being discussed by House of Parliament.

Inne Lutfiana of Ministry of Health, said that the ministry had issued a regulation on Control on Mercury Impacts on Health Action Plan in 2016 to support the ratification.

“The ministry regulation, in accordance to health development policy 2015-2019 and one of President’s Nawacita which is improving people’s quality,” said Lutfiana.

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Indonesia signed Minamata Convention on mercury on October 13, 2013, in Kumamoto, Japan. With the signing, Indonesia committed to ratify the Convention. Up to date, 38 out of 128 nations have ratified Minamata Convention.

Mercury is a toxic, persistent, and bio-accumulated chemical substance and can move long distance in the atmosphere. It is produce by nature.

One of phenomenal case of mercury poisoning is Minamata Disease after PT Chisso’s dumped its toxic mercury waste to Minamata Bay in 1953.

Reports by Danny Kosasih