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ASGM Projects: Indonesia

Studying Land Use Change from ASGM - 2016

UNEP partnered with UNITAR's Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) to study land use change in ASGM regions in Central Kalimantan. The study used satellite imagery to detect changes over time, and illustrates high levels of recent deforestation and land clearing resulting from hydraulic mining in certain river valleys in the region. The study demonstrates than ASGM can significantly add to cumulative landscape impacts including from forestry and palm oil production. 

The study is available here

Capacity-Building Phase 2 - 2015-2016

As a follow-up to the successful work in Phase 1 (see below), UNEP worked with Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta to build capacity for mercury-free ASGM methods and raise awareness on the risks of mercury use at the national, regional, and local level.

This project set up a mercury-free ASGM demonstration plant and training center in East Java, as well as convened two workshops for national and regional government officials to advance national action planning.

The final report is available here

The project was funded by the Government of Norway.

Capacity-Building Phase 1 - 2012-2013

The project, led by Blacksmith Institute and Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta in collaboration with UNEP and funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency, gathered data on mercury releases from the ASGM sector and brought together representatives from local and national Government, local mining offices, research institutes and mining NGOs to develop a national strategic plan for the sector considering broader sustainable development objectives.


  • Ten sluices, ninety retorts and fifty water-box condensers were distributed to miners who had been trained in their use.
  • In parallel with this technical training, a number of events were held to raise the awareness of miners and processors, health professionals, schoolteachers and NGO leaders of the dangers of mercury use.
  • Information materials were developed with local community leaders so that appropriate messages about mercury can be delivered to those at greatest risk of exposure.


  • As a result of the project mercury releases to the environment were reduced by an estimated 3,000 kg in a single year by training small-scale gold miners in Indonesia to use improved processing techniques.
  • The work to develop the National Strategic Plan to reduce mercury use from ASGM was initiated. The plan was finalized in 2014.

For more information please refer to the project report

This project was also highlighted in UNEP’s annual report 2013