The five-year initiative of Sustainable Development of the Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining in Indonesia project is built on 3 pillars:
Pillar 1: Improved Practices
Pillar 2: Enabled Environment
Pillar 3: Market Access
P1: Improved Practices
Improved practices (technical, environmental, health, and gender-sensitive) by men and women gold miners in the targeted provinces.
For Pillar 1, SD-ASGM is focusing not only on reducing the mercury usage in artisanal and small-scale gold mining but also on other practices related to men and women gold miners in Indonesia. We identified and confirmed 4 project areas in 2 provinces. We are working on the installation of Hg-free (mercury free) processing systems, related training, and the operationalization of the Credit Fund. We are also developing curriculum development partnerships with Badan Penerapan dan Pengkajian Teknologi (BPPT) on ASGM and with the Ministry of Health on health and mercury.
To facilitate the transition to a mercury-free ASGM sector, we:
- Design and implement affordable and intuitive mercury-free processing and training systems;
- Develop practical solutions for reducing mercury use and emissions;
- Identify appropriate solutions that conserve or eliminate the need for mercury and other reagents, saving costs, increasing processing efficiency, and recovering more gold by improving extraction techniques.
SD-ASGM will assist miners to improve their processing techniques and eliminate their use of mercury. The mercury-free processing and training systems installed by the project are intuitive and easy to use since they are composed of technology the miners are already familiar with. They have improved crushing, milling, slicing and a shaking table that separates gold from other minerals. And they can even improve their gold recovery by up to 30%. The traditional processing workflow employed by artisanal miners usually has poor grain size control yielding inadequate gold recovery and is both mercury and dust intensive, causing associated environmental and health issues for not only the miners actively involved in the processing but members of non-participants surrounding communities as well. To reduce these negative effects, the SD-ASGM project is introducing an alternate processing system with the following components:
This system workflow eliminates the need to use mercury in processing while increasing the gold recovery through better and more controlled milling and mineral separation practices. One of the most important improvements in this system is the addition of process control at several stages of the workflow. Grain size control in the milling process is a key to gold recovery. The grain size control allows for more complete liberation of gold from other minerals in the ore, resulting in improved gold recovery. The basic system workflow includes crushing, grinding, grain-size control, gravity concentration, and direct smelting. In this general configuration the system is suitable for most ASM scenarios; however, the best workflow may vary slightly between sites depending on things such as mineralogy, size and distribution of gold particles in the ore, availability of water for processing, and technical skills of operators. Therefore, the adopted workflow is made site-specific and optimized based on locally encountered conditions.
By improving technology, business practices, governance, and policy, SD-ASGM will help to improve the environment and health of people involved in ASGM. Mercury use, water consumption, and dust and wastewater management are crucial environmental and health concerns associated with ASGM. At many artisanal gold mining sites, miners and their families are susceptible to inhaling both mercury vapor and silica dust, which can cause serious and often irreversible health problems. Moreover, protecting and managing water resources responsibly ensure its safe and equitable use. Although the environmental and health issues in ASGM are of serious concern, both can easily be mitigated through education, improved processes, and best practices.
To eliminate health hazards, SD-ASGM focuses on:
- Providing seminars to local health professionals on how to identify and treat health issues that are specific to the ASGM sector, such as exposure to dust and mercury intoxication.
- Promoting the use of wet milling techniques to suppress dust and reduce dust exposure.
- Providing training to miners and processors on the health issues related to ASGM and measures that should be taken to protect their and their family’s health.
- Working with governments to develop public health strategies to address mercury exposure from ASGM activities.
- Promote the adoption and use of personal protective equipment at mine sites.
- Developing research guidelines and tools including surveys and questionnaires which can be used to conduct rapid health assessment in mining communities, assess the capacity of local and regional health institutions to deal with health issues related to ASGM
P2: Enabling Environment
Building a supportive policy environment for responsible ASGM activities at the national level and in targeted provinces.
In this pillar, SD-ASGM focuses on having closer collaborations and bolstering relationships with the governments on national, regional and provincial levels to push national and local action plans on ASGM. We also build and maintain linkages with other initiatives including UNDP, ASGM Partnership, and Minamata Convention Secretariat. In addition, we are setting up and piloting the SMS telecommunication activity to enhance our communication with the beneficiaries.
Another focus of this pillar will be on the environmental monitoring of the project facilities, meeting environmental standards for mercury elimination, water recycling, emissions, and tailings management, and the institutionalization of environmental monitoring systems (EMS) in the project area provinces.
P3: Market Access
Increase public-private engagement in the sector and build stronger supply chains to support responsible artisanal gold.
Our priorities in pillar 3 will be to established partnerships along the domestic and international gold supply chains, develop and pilot a responsible ASGM sourcing tool for downstream gold supply chain participants, conduct socially responsible and gender equitable investment sessions/workshops for national and international investors, and collaborate with other responsible gold initiatives.
Gold can represent an excellent method of transferring wealth to rural communities: small-scale producers often get 70% or more of international prices, even in remote areas. This is much higher than other products such as coffee and bananas. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining needs to be further integrated into formal economies to maximize benefits and enable improvements. Minimizing the environmental and social consequences in artisanal gold mining requires innovation, broad collaboration, and access to capital.
To increase uptake of responsible artisanal and small-scale gold in domestic and international markets, we will be promoting Responsible Artisanal Gold™ to global markets, socially responsible investors, and consumers through conferences, training events, linking through other responsible gold initiatives, and engaging with jewelers.