Investigation of the spread of mercury in the land around the waste storage ponds in the Kulon Progo traditional gold mine


  • Ranno Marlany Rachman Department of Civil Engineering, Halu Oleo University
  • Edward Ngii Department of Civil Engineering, Halu Oleo University
  • Abdul Rahim Sya’ban Department of Science and Technology, Mandala Waluya University



mercury, pollution, soil, traditional gold mining


This study was conducted to determine mercury contamination contained in soils in Kalirejo sub-district, Kulon Progo, Indonesia. This contamination occurred as a result of traditional gold mining activities that used the amalgamation method of mercury. Soil samples were collected from 6 sites; one site was located in an uncontaminated location, and 5 sites in contaminated soil were taken from 10 meters distance from the tailing ponds. Samples were collected from each site at 30, 60, and 90 cm depths. Mercury concentrations in each sample were measured according to the US EPA method, using Mercury analyzer type VM-3000. Mercury concentrations in uncontaminated area at 30, 60, 90 depths were 0.19 mg/kg, 0.02 mg/kg, and <0.0001 mg/kg respectively. These values did not exceed the quality standard according to Government Regulation No 101 The Year 2014 concerning Hazardous Waste Management of 0.3 mg/kg. Meanwhile, mercury concentrations around the tailing ponds were 0.30 to 22.51 mg/kg, which exceeded the quality standard.

Author Biographies

Ranno Marlany Rachman, Department of Civil Engineering, Halu Oleo University

Program studi Rekayasa Infrastruktur Lingkungan jurusan teknik sipil fakultas teknik Universitas Halu Oleo

Edward Ngii, Department of Civil Engineering, Halu Oleo University


Abdul Rahim Sya’ban, Department of Science and Technology, Mandala Waluya University



Aksakal, E.L., Angin, I. and Oztas, T. 2012. Effects of diatomite on soil physical properties. Catena 88(1): 1–5.

Appel, P.W.U. and Na Oy, L.D. 2014. Mercury-free gold extraction using borax for small scale gold miner. Journal of Environmental Protection 5: 493-499.

ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), (2013). Substance Priority List.

Bansah, K.J, Yalley, A.B. and Dupey, N.D. 2016. The hazardous nature of small-scale underground mining in Ghana. Journal of Sustainable Mining 15: 8-25.

Dastoor, A.P. and Larocque, Y. 2004. The global circulation of atmospheric mercury: A modeling study. Atmospheric Environment 38: 147–161.

Djamaluddin, H., Thamrin, M. and Achmad, A. 2012. Potential and prospects added value metals in Indonesia; a study on mineral conservation efforts. Proceedings of the Research Faculty of Engineering, Makassar 6: 2-14.

Drace K, Kiefer A.M., Veiga M.M, Williams M.K., Ascari, B., Knapper, K.A., Logan, K,M., Breslin, V.M., Skidmore, A., Bolt, D.A , Geist, G., Reidy, L. and Cizdziel, J.V. 2012. Mercury-free, small-scale artisanal gold mining in Mozambique: utilization of magnets to isolate gold at clean tech mine. Journal of Cleaner Production 32: 88-95.

Dranga, B. A., Lazar, L. and Koeser, H. 2012. Oxidation catalysts for elemental mercury in flue gases: a review. Catalysts 2(1): 139-170.

Draszawka-Bolzan, B. 2017. Effect of pH and soil environment. World News of Natural Sciences 8: 6o0-60.

Fijałkowski, K., Kacprzak, M., Grobelak, A. and Placek, A. 2012. The influence of selected soil parameters on the mobility of heavy metals in soils. Inżynieria i Ochrona Środowiska 15: 81-92.

Gunawan, A., Setiawan, L., Subarna, A.W. and Suhendi, E. 2001. Pilot of Gold Mining in Kokap, Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta. Research and Development Center for Mineral and Coal Technology (Tekmira), Bandung (in Indonesian).

Haddad, S.A., Lemanowicz, J. and Abd El-Azeim, M.M. 2019. Cellulose decomposition in clay and sandy soils contaminated with heavy metals. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 16(7): 3275-3290.

Hasriyanty, A.A., Saleh, S., Basir-Cyio, M. and Yunus, M. 2018. Effect of mercury contamination on the diversity of soil Arthropods in Poboya gold mining. Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 11(5): 254-261.

Hu, B., Zhou, J., Liu, Meng, L., W. and Wang, Z. 2017. Assessment of heavy metal pollution and potential ecological risk in soils of Tianjin sewage irrigation region, North China. Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology7:425-525.

Indonesian Government Regulations Number 101 the year 2014 Waste Management of Hazardous and Toxic Materials. The Government of the Republic of Indonesia.

Kpan, J.D.A., Opoku, B.K. and Gloria, A. 2014. Heavy metal pollution in soil and water in some selected towns in Dunkwa-on-Offin District in the central region of Ghana as a result of small scale gold mining. Journal of Agricultural Chemistry and Environment 3: 40-47.

Mahbub, K.R., Krishnan, K., Naidu, R. and Megharaj, M. 2017. Mercury toxicity to Eisenia fetida in three different soils. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 24(2):1261-1269.

Orhue, E.R. and Frank, U.O. 2011. The fate of some heavy metals in soils: a review. Journal of Applied and Natural Science 3: 131-138.

Oyeogbe, A.I. and Oluwasemire, K.O. 2013. Evaluation of SOILWAT model for predicting soil water characteristics in southwestern Nigeria. International Journal of Soil Science 8: 58-67.

Rachman, R.M., Bahri, A. S. and Trihadiningrum, Y. 2018. Stabilization and solidification of tailings from a traditional gold mine using Portland cement. Environmental Engineering Research 23(2): 189-194.

Rachman, R.M., Karisma, E.D. and Trihadiningrum, Y. 2017. Stabilization/solidification of mercury contaminated soil of traditional gold mining in Kulon Progo Yogyakarta, Indonesia using a mixture of portland cement and tras soil. ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences 12: 6380-6387.

Rangkuti, K. 2013. Preliminary Study of Impact of Traditional Gold Mining in Mandailing Natal (Case Study Gold Mine Hutabargot). Thesis. Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Medan.

Rani, B., Signgh, U., Chauhan, A.K. and Maheshwari, R. 2012. Hazards of mercury poisoning and prevention strategies. Journal of Advanced Scientific Research 3: 04-06.

Risher, J.F. 2003. Elemental Mercury and Inorganic Mercury Compounds: Human Health Aspects. Concise International Chemical Assessment Document 50. World Health Organization. 1:60.

Rohmana, Kamal, S. and Suhandi. 2006. Mercury deployment data collection elements in gold mining areas at the Mount Gede, Bogor, West Java Province. Bulletin of Geological Agency of Indonesia 2: 1-5 (in Indonesian).

Rozani, M.I. 2013. Traditional Plan Formulation Mining Areas (WPR) Metals Village Hargorejo Kokap Kulon Progo Regency of Yogyakarta Special Region. Thesis, Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Mineral Technology, UPN, Yogyakarta (in Indonesian).

Samson, I.O., Muruf, A.K, Priscilla, O. and Joseph. A. 2013. Mercury contamination in artisanal gold mining area of Manyera River, Niger State Nigeria. E3 Journal of Environmental Research and Management 4: 0326-0333.

Schimedt, C.W. 2012. Quicksilver and gold: mercury pollution from artisanal and small-scale gold mining. Environmental Health Perspectives 120(11): 425-429.

Setiabudi, B. 2005. Spreading Mercury as a result of the Gold Mining Business in Regional Sangon, Kulon Progo, Special Region Yogyakarta. Colloquium of Field Results, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia, DIM:1-17 (in Indonesian).

Siregar, E.B.M. 2006. Air Pollution, Plant Response, and Effect on Humans. USU Repository. Medan (in Indonesian).

UNEP. 2008. The Global Atmospheric Mercury Assessment: Sources, Emission and Transport. Geneva: UNEP-Chemicals

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 1987. Textural Soil Classification System. 1987

USEPA. 2007. Treatment Technologies for Mercury in Soil, Waste, and Water. Washington D.C, USA

Veiga, M.M., Nunes, D., Klein, B., Shandoro, J.A., Velasquez, P.C. and Sousa, R.N. 2009. Mill leaching: a viable substitute for mercury amalgamation in the artisanal gold minning sector. Journal of Cleaner Production 17: 1373-1381

Vidniarizki, N.P. 2014. Phytoaccumulation of Mercury on Cyclosorus interupstus H. Ito., Desmodium gangeticum DC., and Photomorphe subpeltata Mig., in Traditional Gold Mining Sangon village, Kulon Progo. Thesis, Faculty of Biology, Gajah Mada University (in Indonesian).

Wahab, S.A.A. and Marikar, F.A. 2012. The environmental impact of gold mines: pollution by heavy metals. Central European Journal of Engineering 2: 304-313.

Widodo. 2008. Pollution of mercury (Hg) as the impact of the gold ore processing on Ciliunggunung river, Waluran, Sukabumi Regency. Jurnal Geologi Indonesia 3(3):139-149 (in Indonesian).

Wiriosudarmo, R. 1999. Economic Empowerment through Small-Scale Mining. Ecomine NL Foundation, Policy, and Management Seminar on Small-Scale Mining, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

Withdrawn. 2016. ASTM D422-63(2007)e2, Standard Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2007,








How to Cite

Rachman, R. M., Ngii, E., & Sya’ban, A. R. (2021). Investigation of the spread of mercury in the land around the waste storage ponds in the Kulon Progo traditional gold mine. Journal of Degraded and Mining Lands Management, 8(4), 2911–2916.



Research Article