Gold_20060420_01364.jpg

East Java has high unemployment and there are many migrant workers on Kalimantan (Borneo) from Java who came initially to do artisanal timber work.  The government stomped out the little guys in timber in favor of two big companies so they could control (read "profit from") the industry.  So all the artisanal timber workers switched to gold. Karang Pani is a new regency established by the government--The town is only 3 years old and is support center for the artisanals--providing diesel engines, retorts to purify amalgam and other services.  The gold mining area is called Galangan and is about 11KM out of town. There are 15 retorts in Karang Pani and the mercury goes up in the smoke but then rains down on the town.  Miners test in the 1000 plus area for ppm of mercury--normal is 170 to 300 depending on how many mercury fillings you have (results of Unido testing in area).  Miners earn about $5USD a day.  E. Java is way overcrowded and the govt. has an official transmigration program over to Kalimantan.  In E. Java they can earn about 100RP a day hoeing the fields, here they can earn upwards of 30,000-60,000RP ($3-$6) a day. So it is worth it to them to camp in this area having only the water from the amalgam ponds to bath and drink.  I have many photos of people brushing their teeth or bathing next to a guy panning with a big glob of mercury.

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