At our PT-FI operations in Indonesia, illegal artisanal miners seek unrecovered gold from our milling operations by panning in our controlled riverine tailings system. On average, approximately 4,500 artisanal miners are in the Lowlands and 750 are in the Highlands. About 65% of Lowlands artisanal miners come from outside Papua, while the Highlands artisanal miners are predominantly from tribes from the central Highlands of Papua.
Artisanal mining in the area is illegal. However, artisanal miners set up working camps at various points along the controlled riverine tailings system. Many do not have expertise operating in hazardous conditions including remote terrain and varied climatic conditions. There are additional safety challenges with PT-FI’s ongoing levee maintenance and earthworks necessary to responsibly manage the controlled riverine system.
PT-FI’s community liaison officers and third-party contractors in the field proactively socialize any operational changes with the artisanal miners in an effort to manage their expectations and encourage them to seek alternative livelihoods and to minimize risks to the operations and to the panners themselves. PT-FI also informs the artisanal miners in advance of planned maintenance to minimize safety risks. The potential use of mercury by illegal artisanal miners remains a concern, and PT-FI conducts regular monitoring for mercury use through its routine environmental monitoring programs.
PT-FI cannot address illegal artisanal mining on its own; a multi- faceted approach including government cooperation, security risk management, stakeholder engagement and socioeconomic development for alternative livelihoods is essential.
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