Dossier Tin mining

There is a solution for Bangka

There is a solution for Bangka

19 mei 2014

Milieudefensie wants to end human rights violations and child labour in tin mining and wants nature to be spared. Nature, agriculture and fishing on Bangka can be saved. Tin mines on Bangka could start right away to work responsibly and to treat people, wildlife and nature with respect if the producers of our tablets, laptops and mobile phones want to do so. Read more here about how together we can improve tin mining on Bangka.

How can tin be mined responsibly on Bangka?

Tin can be mined responsibly on Bangka – and this mainly entails regulations and monitoring. At sea, this starts with the dredgers. Dredgers would no longer be permitted to dump the mud overboard that remains after the tin is removed from the sand. Instead they would have to deposit the processed sand on the seafloor. Then the water would not turn murky, coral reefs would be spared and fish habitats would be preserved.

On land, area restoration must be foremost and should begin the day after the mine is closed. This can be achieved by careful conservation of fertile land, mining an area in small parcels and then restoring it, as well as setting aside funds for restoration.

In mining for tin in rivers and streams, water that is used to separate the tin from the sand must be decontaminated before it is returned to the river.

What can manufacturers do?

About 4 grams of tin from Indonesia goes into our tablets and 2 grams in our smartphones. That may not seem like much, until you consider that Apple and Samsung alone sell between 70 and 90 million smartphones per year and that 118 million tablets are sold annually.

Therefore, Milieudefensie wants manufacturers of tablets, laptops and telephones to realise that they hold the future of Bangka in their hands and to set requirements for the source of the tin that they purchase. Manufacturers can also stimulate responsible tin mining by paying a fair – somewhat higher – price for tin. That would provide the funding to regulate tin mining.

In addition to responsible tin mining on Bangka, manufacturers also must see to it that less tin mining is needed by making products that last longer and can be easily recycled. 

What does Milieudefensie want?

Nature, agriculture and fishing on Bangka can be saved if manufacturers, in cooperation with tin companies and the government on Bangka, address the problems.

Our goals:

  • No new tin mines should be opened without agreements in place to restore the land;
  • Opening and restoration of mining areas should take place in consultation with local residents;
  • Tin dredging in sea should be suspended as long as this leads to coral reefs dying off;
  • Mining companies must obey the law.


What can you do for the people of Bangka?

We all want to be able to trust that the products we buy are made in a responsible way, without leaving a trail of destruction elsewhere in the world. Since Milieudefensie has been carrying out this campaign in cooperation with Friends of the Earth Indonesia and England, many companies have already promised to improve their practices. They want to take responsibility for the abuses in the tin mines on Bangka. But not all companies have yet taken action.