J. Phys. IV France
Volume 107, May 2003
Page(s) 79 - 82

J. Phys. IV France
107 (2003) 79
DOI: 10.1051/jp4:20030248

Mercury pollution on district of Dimembe river system, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, due to traditional gold mining activities

D. Ayhuan1, O. Atteng1, A. Dondokambey1 and M. Randuk2

1  Environmental Protection Management Agency of North Sulawesi Province, Bapedalda Propinsi Sulawesi Utara, Jl. 17 Agustus No. 69, Manado, Indonesia
2  Laboratory of Health Manado, Jl. 17 Agustus, Indonesia

Mercury contamination caused by the amalgamation of gold in small scale gold mining is a environmental problem. Small-scale gold mining (SSGM) is common in mineral endowed developing countries. It offers an important means of livehood and has served as a safety net in times of natural calamities or economic distress. In north Sulawesi Province alone, approximately 22,000 small-scale gold miners were active in 1998, and produced an estimated 10 tonnes of gold bullion. Activities of traditional / illegal gold mining (PETI) in Dimembe of district, which is located in Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi Province. The major environmental concern associated with PETI in mercury pollution from processing of gold-bearing ore. In both the inorganic and organic forms, mercury is one of the most toxic substances to humans. One of the environmental pollution is water pollution on district of Dimembe river system that is probably caused by the use of mercury (Hg) in processing mine ore. This mercury is used in an iron rolling vessel, wllich is called tromol. Mercury concentration at employed in this operation reaches 1 kg out of 30 kg ore. Sampling stage was conducted at Warat river, downstream Taiawaan river, Merut river and Kadumut river on late April 2002 by BAPEDALDA team together with Health Laboratory staff. Material which were sampled was water. Sampling methods carried out were bottle sample immersed about 10 cm below the water surface. The analysis method used was mercury analyzer. The analysis result show that total concentration of mercury range from 1. 69 to 25. 54 ppb. This concentration is closed to Water Quality Standard IV Class that is 0.005 mg/L (Regulation Government No. 82/2001). The result of this research indicate that the district of Dimembe river system in the gold mining area have been contaminated by mercury.

© EDP Sciences 2003