Last March, 19th 2014, PWYP Indonesia Secretariat (Meliana, Maryati) conduct field visits to traditional gold miners in the ​​Sekotong, sub-district of Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara. The visit that was part of  “Reversing the Resources Curse” initiatives was also attended by participants from Latin America, Africa and America. They witnessed how people basically conduct mining in their back yard in the scale of small and medium enterprises. All the activity starting from dredging rock from the pits, crushing, grinding , panning up the gold ore is done without license from the authority.

Johan (not his real name), was one of the miners that we interview, we asked him over his reason for mining the gold. “I get the information about the gold reserve in here from a ‘spiritual’ person from West Java, so we keep on digging until tunnels passed my own backyard. Now, the tunnel size is even wider than my yard“, said Johan.

The miners, which also involved woman, used the mercury in the gold separation process. Although they’ve already received information on how dangerous mercury is from the local health service, but Johan and his groups continued using it. “We always wash our hands with soap after work“, added Johan without feeling guilty. “If we are lucky , we could get tens of millions rupiah per person, but if not-we get nothing, and often we only get an average of 700 thousand rupiah per person“, added Johan. Other organizations who was also participating in the visit were Prakarsa, researcher from RCC University of Indonesia, researcher from Surya University and the Ford Foundation Program Officer from various offices in Jakarta, Latin America , Africa, and America.