TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The police evacuated 13 illegal miners trapped inside a mine in Mount Suge, West Lombok at 11:00 local time. Seven of the miners died.
"The other six survived and they are now being treated" Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus, head of information at the Police Headquarters' PR division, said in Jakarta, Tuesday, June 19.
The miners suffered from gas poisoning, causing them to lack oxygen and had troubles breathing.
Yusri said the men were mining for gold illegally inside passages that have been abandoned by the mine owners. On Monday, they found a hole and entered it at night.
"When mining, they smelled smoke. They were about 200 meters deep inside the earth and some victims were unable to save themselves," Yusri said.
Illegal gold mining remains a problem in Indonesia. In 2017, the Environment and Forestry Ministry recorded there were 850 spots for small-scale gold mining in 196 cities and regencies. The miners use mercury to mine the gold.
From these activities, the state loses some 80 tons of gold per year for a royalty value of approximately Rp157 billion. The recovery costs Rp12 millions per ton, and the damages to the environment are quite massive as well.