With regards to ASM in Indonesia, many argue that officially recorded employment data does not represent the actual figure. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported in 2018 national employment in the mining sector (inclusive of LSM & ASM) was 1,454,256. Delve considers an estimated figure calculated by Gatot Sugiharto, Head of Association of Community Miners Indonesia [Asosiasi Penambang Rakyat Indonesia (APRI)] of 3,600,000 from a 2020 interview as the most recent available figure, but recognizes the lack of official data as a critical impediment to the sector's development.
The absence of official data is due to various factors, but principally due to the fact that many ASM activities are conducted without a license. There are three probable main causes for the low level of legalization: (i) complex and inefficient formalization mechanism; (ii) ASM is not a priority issue for the government; and (iii) lack of managerial skills, capital, and environmental management exerted by the ASM operators (Miharja, Setyo and Hadi 2015). Other factors include seasonal participation in the sector and the migration of miners (outflux of local miners and influx of non-local miners), who mainly look for new reserves.
The trend in ASM employment showed an increase over the period of 2006 – 2013, with a fourfold increase from 2006 to 2010. Such sharp increase was the result of an economic crisis (Ismawati 2010). During this period, working in ASM was a quick solution for people who were discharged from their formal job due to the crisis. Moreover, the escalating gold prices during the same period gave way to the opening of more ASGM locations (nearly doubling) and triggered new miners to become active.
Read more in the Indonesia Country Profile.