President of Indonesia calls for the end of use of mercury in gold mining

The President of Indonesia, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, has instructed cabinet ministers to stop the use of mercury in artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) in a Cabinet meeting on March 10, 2017.

ASGM in Lake Sentarum, Indonesia

The President said the use of mercury in various industries, including small gold mines, could cause environmental damage and can have a severe impact on the health of workers in ASGM and even people living around places where such mining occurs.

He mentioned that there are 850 mines where mercury is used and that 250,000 workers are facing the potential health risk. He went on to say, "As one of the countries that signed the Minamata Convention in Kumamoto, Japan, on Oct. 10, 2013, Indonesia should not allow the use of mercury in mining to continue."

He also asked for the use of mercury to be tightly monitored. He called for oversight over mercury distribution because what people were using for mining was mostly imported illegally. He added that medical assistance must be provided to people exposed to mercury.

We believe this is a meaningful step to forward to stopping the use of mercury in ASGM and achieving a mercury-free society in Indonesia.