Indonesia is famous for its abundant mineral natural resources, one of which is gold. The potential for gold deposits is evenly distributed in almost every region in Indonesia.
Based on data from the 2020 United States Geological Survey (USGS) processed by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Indonesia is recorded to have 2,600 tons of gold or 5% of the world’s total gold reserves of 50,300 tons. This makes Indonesia home to the fifth largest gold reserves in the world, after Australia, Russia, the United States and South Africa. Even so, gold exploration in Indonesia has not been carried out optimally.
Then, which regions are known as the biggest gold producers in Indonesia?
- Mimika Regency
Mimika is a regency located in Central Papua Province. This regency is located in the Tembagapura District, which is the location of the Grasberg Gold Mine, which is one of the largest gold mines in the world. With an estimated gold reserve of 106.2 million ounces, this gold mine can produce around 240 kg of pure gold every day.
In the last decade, Grasberg’s gold production reached its highest production in 2018, which was 2.7 million ounces. This figure increased by 68.75% compared to the previous year. However, in 2019 and 2020, its production experienced a significant decline. This was due to the transition of mine management from open pit to underground mining. When the underground mine operated at full capacity in 2021, gold production increased to 1.3 million tons and continued to record an increase in 2022. In 2023, Grasberg’s gold production is targeted to reach 1.8 million ounces.
This regency is located in East Java Province and has a gold mountain which is precisely located in Sumberagung Village, Pesanggaran District, and is known as Tumpang Pitu or commonly called the Seven Hills Mine.
Gold mining activities at the Tujuh Bukit Gold Mine began in December 2016 on an area of 4,998 hectares. The gold reserves in the Tujuh Bukit open pit mine are 702,000 ounces, while for the underground mine there are around 28 million ounces of gold with an estimated mining period of up to 40 years. In 2022, Tujuh Bukit is estimated to produce 124,000 ounces of gold.
Halmahera Island is one of the islands with the biggest treasures in Indonesia. This treasure is in the form of the Gosowong Gold Mine which is located in North Halmahera Regency, North Maluku Province.
Gosowong was discovered from greenfield exploration on Halmahera Island, with a total estimated reserve according to the updated 2021 Feasibility Study document was 860 thousand ounces or the equivalent of 26.9 tons of gold. The Gosowong Gold Mine began producing its first gold in July 1999. Currently, open pit mining in Gosowong has ended. The current mining activities are a combination of underground mining methods, underhand/overhand cut & fill and long-hole stopping.
Pujon is the name of a village located in Central Kapuas District, Kapuas Regency, Central Kalimantan Province. Pujon Village is very famous as the home of the gold miners’ community, so Pujon Village is often nicknamed the Gold Village. Nearly 99% of the Pujon people mine gold and it is their main source of livelihood.
The gold reserves in the Pujon area are estimated at 40 million tons, but mining activities are still carried out in simple methods by the local community. After finding a location that is suspected of containing gold, the gold miners will dig the soil until it penetrates the sand. After that, soil extraction is carried out using a special suction machine which is connected to another machine that is designed to filter sand with water. In this filter section, the gold ore will be separated. If you’re lucky, in one sitting, a miner can get 1-2 ounces of gold ore.
Apart from that, there is also the Lanting system or gold mining in the middle of the river with floating filters. And, there are still people who use a traditional panning system that only uses a round wooden filter tool like a large gramophone record.
Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, is known for having a gold mine called Batu Hijau, which is precisely located in Jereweh and Sekongkang Districts, Sumba Regency. This mine began operating in 2000 with an area of 25,000 hectares, Batu Hijau is indicated to have gold reserves of 9,190 million ounces. Since its first operation until now, Batu Hijau has produced around 8.7 million ounces of gold. In 2020, Batu Hijau reached its highest production level, which was 4.12 million ounces of gold.
Sumatra island especially in North Sumatra there are a gold mine with a total area 130,252 hectares, or 1,303 km², and the operational area is 509 hectares in January 2022. Organized by PT Agincourt Resources (PTAR), as of June 2022, the mineral resources amounted of 6.5 million ounces of gold and 64 million ounces of silver. Production The operating capacity of the Martabe Gold Mine is more than 7 million tonnes of ore per year.
PTAR has implemented of the continued exploration program and as of June 2023, PTAR had total resources of 7.5 million ounces of gold and 72 million ounces of silver and ore reserves of 4.5 million ounces of gold and 39 million ounces of silver.