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[October 20 AFP] The Keren pungey (Kereng Pangi) area of the Indonesia Kalimantan island (Borneo, Borneo) with once rich tropical rain forests is the front line of the present-day gold rush which overflows with illegal golden mining workers now.
In the field working, thousands of men look for the gold which sprays water on a lot of gravels, and shines with a pressure gauge hose every day.
Such an illegal working that exist in various parts of ? Indonesia not only destroys environment, but has exposed the health of workers or a local resident to danger with the mercury currently illegally used for the purpose of golden refinement.
Mercury has a possibility of bringing about serious neuropathy and the condition of neither shaking nor a cough stopping among the workers engaged in refinement for years has come out of it.
? — it is Professor Marcelo Veiga (Marcello Veiga) of University of British Columbia (University of British Columbia) in Canada that indicates such a situation “is a time bomb of health.”
The professor of said detailed to the actual condition of the mercury use in a small-scale gold ore warns “Probably, the dead are reported per thousands of people.”
? Indonesia government according to “the Minamata treaty (Minamata Convention on Mercury) about mercury” of U.N. (UN) adopted and signed in Kumamoto on the 10th of this month, It is expected that the refinement work using the mercury which has threatened domestic golden mining workers’ lives will decrease.
However, in order to tackle the problem of illegal mining expanded with a golden price boost, there is also direction regarded as insufficient in the treaty.
■ Health impairment which recovery does not attach
? United Nations presumes that so-called a maximum of 15 million people of “small-scale craftsman golden mining workers” are in 70 nations in the world.
In Indonesia, if it is concluded that it increased rapidly from estimated 50,000 in 2006 to about 500,000 people now, Mr. Abdur Harris (Abdul Harris) who commands a governmental task team will tell.
Since golden refinement which uses mercury is performed widely according to ? United Nations, mining is the greatest thing as an artificial source of mercury emission to environment.
The expansion of golden refinement which uses mercury of Indonesia is remarkable.
Many poor employed by the working located hundreds of places in the country spray high-pressure water on the gravel which broke the ore and became in pieces, and are looking for gold.
If mercury is mixed with the ore and gravel containing ? money, mercury and Kin’s alloy are made and can be taken out easily.
Being accompanied by danger is the following process.
When heating an alloy, evaporating mercury and extracting gold, a neurological toxin is generated, and there is a possibility of doing the serious damage which recovery attaches to neither a nerve nor internal organs.
A certain worker who work in the gold ore of central ? Indonesia and the Lombok (Lombok) island told on condition of anonymity, saying “Although there is naturally uneasiness (to health impairment), it is uneasier to be unable to obtain the income which can be eaten.”
Although the ventilator which discharges poisonous gas was installed in the indoor workplace which heats an alloy in recent years, no measures are taken about heating work [ on the outdoors ].
According to Mr. Lini Sulaiman (Rini Sulaiman) who acts as the adviser of the community-systems-development fund ヤヤサン タンブハ sinter (Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta) of the gold ore surrounding area which makes ? Kalimantan island a base Since many of workers who work by golden mining business are immigrations, it is said that continuous grasp of health condition is difficult.
Even if migrant workers die, it is very rare to record the cause of death, and it is difficult to solve whether it is having had influence of mercury.
The surrounding area of ? mining spot also has the view that it is exposed to a still bigger threat.
It is for mercury to enter into a food chain.
When it flows especially into a river, methylmercury whose toxicity is stronger than usual mercury is generated by work of bacteria.
If man eats the fish and shellfishes which methylmercury accumulated by the food chain, it will become a cause of serious neuropathy or the abnormalities in birth.
The cause of Minamata disease of ? Japan is methylmercury in the industrial effluent which continued being discharged over the long period of time, and, as for the victim, about 2000 persons died in tens of thousands of people.
Sulaiman says, “, in the area where downstream (gold ore) residents eat a fish, the risk of mercury poisoning is increasing within a long period of time”, and he fears that a possibility of receiving the blow in which the general population of a surrounding area is more serious than golden mining workers is large.