Program: Collaborative Research for Common Regional Issues (CRC)

Field: Geological and Geo-Resource Engineering

Principal Investigator: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Arifudin Idrus

Sending University: Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM)

Japanese Co-Investigator: Prof. Dr. Hinode HIROFUMI

Japanese University: Tokyo Institute of Technology

Year: 2015


Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Southeast Countries, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines, is responsible for significant mercury pollution, representing a significant environmental health risk. ASGM generally follows a process chain from mining and ore processing causing pollution, which directly or indirectly (e.g. by food) will be taken up by humans and the environment. In this project, we address the entire process pathway by analysing ores and processing stages, environmental impact in an interdisciplinary project between Indonesian and the Philippines partners. This project documents status-quo of mining-processing techniques, pollution and remediation action. Moreover, this project tests the effect of introduction of an alternative ore processing technique, using borax instead of mercury. The effect of borax to the environmental in this setting is currently not known and it is therefore important to document potential risks before an implementation. This project is designed to document current ASGM practice, pollution and relate this to the possible introduction of the Borax Process in order to evaluate its value for a way towards a best-practice green economy. Through this research project, domestic and international academic networks have been developed between researchers/colleagues from UGM, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Akita University, University of Philippines and Jenderal Soedirman University in Purwokerto (Indonesia). Some laboratory analyses have been conducted in RWTH Aachen University and Karlsruher Institut fuer Technologie (KIT), Germany. This academic network is very valuable to keep us on the academic and research collaboration crossing countries and continents now and in the future. This research project is successfully developing the research capacity in our research group and to students. Researchers enable to conduct high standard research and enable to access the advanced laboratory analyses. Researchers are also able to publish current research results and able to be presenter/speaker in high quality international conferences. Students are also directly involved in this project and at least 5 students were supported from this project and successfully graduated from university. This research project is undoubtedly benefited for the society and industry. Since one of the outputs of this research project to test the effect of introduction of an alternative ore processing technique, using borax instead of mercury, this will give benefits for the society around the Artisanal and smallscale gold mining (ASGM) areas particularly and the nations Indonesia and the Philippines generally to reduce and mitigate the mercury pollution. For the ASGM industry, this help to find alternative environmentalfriendly gold processing, instead mercury.