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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A diagnostic assessment of operational, environmental and safety procedures in the onshore cassiterite artisanal mining sector in Indonesia Maia, Fabricio


Cassiterite (SnO₂) is the main ore-mineral of tin, with tin constituting 78.8% and oxygen 21.2%. It is mostly mined in secondary deposits. Tin is one of the components in electronics like computers and smart phones, solder to produce welding wire and is also part of steel plates, which is commonly used in cars and of cans. Considering the world annual production of approximately 280,000 tonnes of tin, resources should sustain production for another 30 years. Approximately 97% of the world’s metallic tin comes from emerging and developing countries and around 25% of cassiterite around the globe is mined by artisanal miners, who use rudimentary techniques, resulting in frequent accidents and occupational hazards that generate health problems for operators and neighbors. The second largest producer of cassiterite in the world, the production of Indonesian artisanal miners constitutes about 40% of the global tin market. Indonesia’s export of tin in 2016 totaled almost 64,000 tonnes. Approximately 60% of cassiterite concentrate production in Indonesia, in 2017, came from artisanal miners in two islands, Bangka and Belitung, in 10,000 mining sites in total (Bangka 8,000 and Belitung 2,000), with more than 50,000 artisanal cassiterite miners (Bangka 40,000 and Belitung 10,000 miners), plus dependents. An individual artisanal miner making approximately US $176 per month. In comparison, the minimum wage in Indonesia is US$ 198/month. Tin recovery was estimated in 12% (metallurgical recovery), whereas the concentrate mass yield was calculated in 0.004% (mass recovery). Cassiterite is mined and processed by artisanal miners in Indonesia using simple techniques consisting of hoses, pumps and poorly constructed sluices boxes. Sixty miners died in Indonesia artisanal cassiterite mining per year, mostly buried in tin alluvial mines or trapped underwater during dredging offshore mining activities. The most common occupational risks are the risk of block sliding, falling and wall collapse. In order to improve organization, formalization, capacity building and, the passing of laws and standards to regulate the sector, important steps should be pursued. Moreover, a stronger and more effective government interference in inspection and training, and willingness of the stakeholders for implementing improvements are imperative.

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Attribution 4.0 International