ASGM status in West Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia


  • Baiq Dewi Krisnayanti International Research Centre for the Management of Degraded and Mining Lands



ASGM, mercury, West Nusa Tenggara


Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) obviously contributes to serious environmental and health issue for miners, nearby populations, and larger community when the use of mercury (Hg) occurs.  Mercury amalgamation is used as a gold recovery technique by 10-12 million ASGM miners around the world and a predicted around 1000 tons of mercury are discharged into the environment every year as a result of poor mining practices. Exposure to mercury can cause serious health effects for future generation, and miners and their families are vulnarable group to expose with mercury vapor and methyl mercury contaminated food in ASGM areas, resulting in increase of levels of mercury in human specimens. Thus, investigate the the effects of mercury on the environment and people health are urgently necessary for developing a better solution to eliminate further mercury contamination to environment in West Nusa Tenggara (WNT) Province. A field survey had been conducted for this research in two main ASGM spots in WNT Province: Sekotong-Lombok island and Taliwang-Sumbawa island. As part of the study, an initial health survey and socio-economic of workers/miners was conducted. Volunteer participants at sampling locations across Sekotong-Lombok and Taliwang-Sumbawa (exposed; indirect exposed; non exposed groups) answered a questionnaire, and allowed the sampling of hair for subsequent analysis. The ore, tailing, plants and soil samples were also collected for investigating Hg concentration on the substances. The results found that the impact of ASGM on increasing  economic activity leading to jobs, income and opportunities for social development is positive. However, there is risk of contamination in soil and plants environment through mining activity and high Hg concentration discovered in human body in a short time of ASGM activity. The environmental sustainability of mining can be better regulated within legalised areas. Environmental monitoring will define unacceptable risk and allow for advanced implementation of remedial measures before an uncontrollable disaster occurs.

Author Biography

Baiq Dewi Krisnayanti, International Research Centre for the Management of Degraded and Mining Lands



Balifokus, 2017. Mercury trade and supply in Indonesia.

Bose-O’Reilly, S., Schierl, R., Nowak, D., Siebert, U., Jossep Frederick, J.W., Fradico Teorgi, F.O. and Ismawati, Y. 2016. A preliminary study on health effects in villagers exposed to mercury in a small-scale artisanal gold mining area in Indonesia. Environmental Research 149: 274–281.

Bose-O'Reilly, S., Drasch, G., Beinhoff, C., Rodrigues-Filho, S., Roider, G., Lettmeier, B., Maydl, A., Maydl, S. and Siebert, U. 2010. Health assessment of artisanal gold miners in Indonesia. Science of the Total Environment 408: 713–725.

EC (European Commission Directorate General Environment). 2006. Report on the Mercury Conference-how to reduce mercury supply and demand; Brussels, 26-27, EuropeanCommission, Brussels, Belgium. Available at:

Ekawanti, A. and Krisnayanti, B.D.2015. Effect of mercury exposure on renal function and hematological parameters among artisanal small-scale gold miners at Sekotong, West Lombok, Indonesia. Journal Health Pollution 5 (9): 18-24.

Fujiki, M. and Tajima, S. 1992. The pollution of Minimata Bay by mercury. Water Science and Technology 26 (12):133–140.

Holmes, P., James, K.A.F. and Levy, L.S.2009. Is low-level environmental mercury exposure of concern to human health? Science of the Total Environment 408: 171–182.

INCAM, 2013. Indonesian Centre for Artisanal Mining (INCAM) extended concept note. Internal report.

Ismawati, Y., Lelitasari, Rothernberg, S. and Bufheim, S. 2015. Gold production in rural areas of Bogor Regency and its hidden hazards implication. The 5th Environmental Technology and Management Conference “Green Technology towards Sustainable Environmentâ€, November 23 - 24, 2015, Bandung, Indonesia.

Kambey, J.L., Farrel, A.P. and Bendell-Young, L.I. 2001. Influence of illegal gold mining on mercury levels in ï¬sh of North Sulawesi’s Minahasa Peninsula, (Indonesia). Environmental Pollution 114: 299–302.

Krisnayanti, B.D. and Anderson, C.W.N. 2013.Environmental impact assessment-illegal/informal gold mining in Lombok (consultancy for GIZ-RED)

Krisnayanti, B.D. and Anderson, C.W.N. 2014. Gold Phytomining : A new idea for environmental sustainability in Indonesia. Indonesian Journal on Geoscience 1(1): 1-7.

Krisnayanti, B.D., Anderson, C.W.N., Utomo, W.H., Feng, X., Handayanto, E., Muddarisna, N., Ikram, H. and Khususiah. 2012. Assesment of environmental mercury discharge at four-year-old artisanal gold mining area on Lombok Island, Indonesia. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 14:2598-2607.

Krisnayanti, B.D., Anderson, C.W.N., Sukartono, S., Afandi, Y., Suheri, H. and Ekawanti, A.2016. Phytomining for artisanal gold mine tailings management. Minerals 6 (3), 84; doi: 10.3390/min6030084.

Krisnayanti, B.D., Vassura, I., Dwi, M.A., Ekawanti, A. and Suheri, H. 2016. Analysis of artisanal small scale gold mining sector in West Sumbawa Regency, Indonesia. Journal of Health and Pollution 6 (1):26-33.

Li, L., Wang, F., Meng, B., Lemes, M., Feng, X.and Jiang, G. 2010. Speciation of methylmercury in rice frwon from a mercury mining area. Environmental Pollution 158: 3103-3107.

Li, P., Feng, X., Qiu, G. and Qwan, Q. 2011. Hair can be a good biomarker of occupational exposure to mercury vapor: simulated experiments and field data analysis. Science of the Total Environment 409: 4484-4488.

Male, Y.T., Reichelt-Brushett, A.J., Pocock, M. and Nanlohy, A. 2013. Recent mercury contamination from artisanal gold mining on Buru Island, Indonesia – Potential future risks to environmental health and food safety. Marine Pollution Bulletin 77: 428–433.

Meng, B., Feng, X., Qiu, G., Liang, P., Li, P., Chen, C. and Lihai, S. 2011. The process of methylmercury accumulation in rice (Oriza sativa L.). Environmental Science & Technology 45: 2711-2717.

Metcalf, S.M. and Veiga, M.M. 2012. Using street theatre to increase awareness of andreduce mercury pollution in the artisanal gold minnig sector: a case from Zimbabwe. Journal of Cleaner Production 37: 179–184.

Mohapatra, S.P., Nikolova, I. and Mitchell, A. 2007. Managing mercury in the great lakes: an analytical review of abatement policies. Journal of Environmental Management [Internet]. 2007 Apr [cited 2015 Oct 28];83(1):80-92. Available from: Subscription required to view.

Molina-Villalba, I., Lacasaña, M., Rodríguez-Barranco, M., Hernández, A.F., Gonzalez-Alzaga, B., Aguilar-Garduño, C. and Gil, F. 2015.Biomonitoring of arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese and mercury in urine and hair of children living near mining and industrial areas. Chemosphere 124:83–91.

Nakazawa, K., Nagafuchi, O., Kawakami, T., Inoue, T., Yokota, K., Serikawa, Y., Cyio, B. and Elvince, R. 2016. Human health risk assessment of mercury vapor around artisanal small-scale gold mining area, Palu city, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 124: 155–162.

Nierenberg, D.W., Nordgren, R.E., Chang, M.B., Siegler, R.W., Blayney, M.B., Hochberg F, Toribara, T.Y., Cernichiari, E. and Clarkson, T.1998. Delayed cerebellar disease and death after accidental exposure to dimethylmercury. The New England Journal of Medicine [Internet]. 1998Jun 4 [cited 2015 Oct 28];338(23):1672-6. Available from:

Shao, D., Kang, Y., Cheng, Z., Wanga, H., Huang, M., Wua, W., Chen, K. and Wong, M.H. 2013. Hair mercury levels and food consumption in residents from the Pearl River Delta: South China. Food Chemistry 136: 682–688.

Telmer, K.H. and Stapper, D. 2007. Evaluating and monitoring small scale gold mining and mercury use: building a knowledge-base with satellite imagery and fieldwork. UNDP/GEF/UNIDO Project EG/GLO/01/G34. Final Report to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Vienna.

Tomiyasu, T., Kono, Y., Kodamatani, H., Hidayati, N.and Setijo, J.R. 2013. The distribution of mercury around the small-scale gold mining area along the Cikaniki river, Bogor, Indonesia. Environmental Research 125:12–19.

UNEP/AMAP.Technical background report for the globalmercury assessment. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, Oslo, Norway/UNEP Chemicals Branch, Geneva, Switzerland; 2013.

Veiga, M.M. and Meech, J.A. 1995. Gold mining activities in the Amazon: clean-up techniques and remedial procedures for mercury pollution. Ambio 24(6): 371-375.

Veiga, M.M., Maxson, P.A. and Hylander, L.D. 2006. Origin and consumption of mercury in small-scale gold mining. Journal of Cleaner Production 14: 436-447.

Veiga, M.M., Meech, J.A. and Hypolito, R. 1995. Educational measures to address Hg pollution from gold mining activities in the Amazon. Ambio 24(4): 216-220.

Velásquez-López, P.C., Veiga, M.M., Klein, B., Shandro, J.A. and Hall, K. 2011. Cyanidation of mercury-rich tailings in artisanal and small-scale gold mining: identifying strategies to manage environmental risks in Southern Ecuador. Journal of Cleaner Production 19:1125-1133.

WHO (World Health Organisation). 2009. Exposure to mercury: a major public healthConcern. Available at:

Xu, J., Garcia, A. B., Lagerkvist, A., Bertilsson, S., Sjöblom, R. and Kumpiene, J. 2015. Sources and remediation techniques for mercury contaminated soil. Environment International 74:42–53.








How to Cite

Krisnayanti, B. D. (2018). ASGM status in West Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. Journal of Degraded and Mining Lands Management, 5(2), 1077–1084.



Research Article