It would not be an easy task to reclaim ex-mining sites that have been contaminated with mercury but it is necessary to prevent the negative impact on the society, she admitted.
Illegal public mines must be closed based on the law No. 32/2009 on the protection and management of the environment, she said.
In the near future, the government will restore the condition of Mount Botak in Buru Island, Maluku Province that had been damaged by illegal gold mines.
"Usually it will take one to two years for the recovery," she said and added that the ministry has conducted an evaluation on the levels of contamination and methods that could be used to reclaim the area.
Sumatra, Kalimantan and West Nusa Tenggara are among regions in the country that were heavily contaminated by mercury and need recovery action.
Two districts in West Nusa Tenggara are so badly contaminated with mercury that it has forced the authority to ban people from consuming meat produced by these two regions.
Regions with public small-scale mines that did not use mercury will get gold processing facilities between Rp1.2 billion and Rp1.5 billion, Ratnawati said. (INE)
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