On the 10th of October 2013, government representatives from 139 countries agreed to adopt the new mercury treaty, named the Minamata Convention on Mercury, in Kumamoto, Japan. As of today, 94 countries, including Indonesia, have signed the treaty and prepare to ratify it. The US is the first to ratify the treaty. The new treaty regulates the trade and distribution of mercury, restrict and eliminate the use of mercury in products and industrial process, mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), emissions control and releases to air, water and soil, management of wastes containing mercury and mercury storage, and remediation of mercury contaminated sites.
In a recently released UNEP study in January 2013, Global Mercury Assessment 2013, ASGM identified as the single largest source of mercury emissions from intentional use. In Indonesia, the highest sources of mercury emissions and releases are ASGM, oil and gas production, coal-fired plants, incinerations and open burning, and waste disposal. Based on the results of studies of mercury inventory in Indonesia in 2012, releases of mercury to the environment was around 339,250 kg Hg/year, about 59.37% was released into the air, about 15.5% was released into the water and about 14% released into soil/sediment. Approximately 57.5% of these emissions came from the ASGM sector with a total emission of about 195 tonnes/year or about 20% of total ASGM global emissions.