Indonesia Sekotong area


Phasing out mercury, protecting livelihoods

Home to the biggest industrial gold mine in the world, Indonesia also hosts an extensive artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector. Artisanal mining has been practiced throughout Indonesia for hundreds of years, but the sector has seen exponential growth over the last two decades.

planetGOLD project sites in Indonesia

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and processing are significant sources of income for as many as 300,000 to 500,000 people in Indonesia—most of whom are miners working with informal operations in remote areas. The mining activity provides a significant boost in economic activity for local communities, yet the informal nature of the majority of operations in this sector makes it difficult for miners to access financing and cleaner technologies that could transform their operations.

Widespread use of mercury has accompanied the ASGM sector’s growth, placing Indonesia among the top three global emitters of the pollutant and posing serious health risks to miners and members of their local communities. The government of Indonesia has taken steps toward eliminating mercury and formalizing the sector, but significant opportunities remain to revise the policy, increase access to financial investment, and develop a more responsible ASGM sector.


Key Figures from Indonesia

  • 300,000+ people are directly employed in ASGM

  • 1 Million people's livelihoods are supported by ASGM

  • #3 top mercury emitter in the world

  • 60% of mercury releases are emitted to the air


Indonesia's Approach

To protect human health and the environment, planetGOLD Indonesia is working to reduce and, where possible, eliminate mercury use in the ASGM sector by strengthening institutions and regulatory frameworks; increasing mining communities’ access to the financing needed to purchase mercury-free processing technologies; providing technical assistance, technology transfer and support for formalization; and raising awareness and disseminating lessons learned on phasing out mercury in the ASGM sector. The project is strategically partnering with women in ASGM communities to support their participation and economic empowerment.

The planetGOLD Indonesia project will support six ASGM communities to reduce mercury use by at least 15 tonnes over the course of the five-year project.


Key Strategies

Icon graphic - formalization

Support formalization of the ASGM sector 

Financing icon graphic

Help miners access financing for mercury-free technologies 

Icon graphic - technology

Provide technical assistance and training on new technologies 

Icon graphic - awareness raising

Raise awareness and disseminate best practices 



Other planetGOLD countries