Translate page with Google

Project March 9, 2022

Illegal Gold Mining as the Main Cause of Deforestation in West Sumatra



The rise of gold mining activities without permits or illegal gold mining is a problem for West Sumatra. In this area hundreds of illegal gold mines operate and there are no legal mines.

Illegal gold mining activities have an impact on environmental damage and a decrease in the quality of the carrying capacity of the soil. This then contributes greatly to forest destruction. Throughout 2021, at least 6,968 hectares of forest were found in West Sumatra damaged by illegal gold mining. The biggest damage occurred to the forest in South Solok Regency, which covered an area of 2,559 hectares. Most illegal gold mines are in the area.

The existence of illegal gold mines does not fully provide an economic impact on local residents. Not many local people are involved in managing it. Gold mines are managed by entrepreneurs outside the region and most of the workers are also imported from other regions.

Despite causing forest destruction and work accidents that killed dozens of people, the local government seems to have no teeth to stop it. It's only limited to conducting raids from time to time and without resolution until then allowing mining activities to bloom again.

This paper will highlight three problems: (1) Destruction of forests and the environment as a result of illegal gold mining, (2) the economic impact on local residents, and (3) the attitude of the community and local government towards illegal gold mining activities that have been going on for decades.