UNDP Indonesia, GEF, launch initiative to curb the use of harmful mercury

March 26, 2019

Jakarta, March 26  2019 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with financing from the Global Environment Facility, launched today an initiative to support Indonesia in curbing the use of  harmful mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), and in improving the living conditions of artisanal miners in the country.

The five-year project will support communities of artisanal miners in the provinces of Yogyakarta, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Gorontalo, North Sulawesi, North Moluccas and Riau.  Mercury use in the six ASGM communities is expected to be curbed by at least five metric tonnes per year and by at least 15 tonnes at the end of the Project.

In partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the National Agency for Technology Assessment and Application, the initiative will also support the drafting of policies and a regulatory framework to curb mercury use and enable mining communities to acess mercury-free processing technologies.

Mercury, also known as quicksilver, is a highly toxic silvery-white metal that is liquid at room temperature and evaporates easily. Once released, mercury can travel long distances, and persists in environments where it circulates between air, water, sediments, soil, and living organisms. High exposure to mercury is a serious risk to human health and the environment.

Gold is not only a luxury metal. It is also found in some everyday products. But little is known about the hidden costs of gold, which is the harmful effects of  mercury for use for extraction ; mercury endangers the health of people in many grassroot mining communities in Indonesiaand it also damages the environment. . By significantly reducing  mercury use, this new UNDP initiative will improve the life of  thousands  Indonesian miners and their families, while at the same time putting an end to its hazardous environmental effects ” said UNDP Resident Representative, Christophe Bahuet.

The Integrated Sound Management of Mercury in Indonesia’s Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (GOLD-ISMIA) Project is part of a Global Opportunities for the Long-term Development of the ASGM Sector (GEF GOLD) programme taking place in eight countries including Indonesia.

“Indonesia has ratified the Minamata Convention which calls on countries to develop action plans to curb mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. We foresee that this Project will have a critical role in the implementation of the Minamata Convention and in improving the lives of the marginalised artisanal communities,” said Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, Director General for Waste Management, the Ministry of Forestry and Environment.“

UNDP Indonesia, GOLD-ISMIA Project Manager, Baiq Dewi Krisnayanti, baiq.krisnayanti@undp.org
UNDP Indonesia Communication Specialist, Tomi Soetjipto, suryo.tomi@undp.org