The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

School of Environmental Science, The University of Shiga Prefecture Professor Osamu Nagafuchi

Research on the environmental impact of mercury contamination from gold placer mining in Kalimantan, central Indonesia

Research grant

Project Description

A considerable amount of mercury is used to extract/process gold within placer mining operations in Central Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. Some mercury is released to the atmosphere, some diffuses into the environment and some leaks into the water system. There is thus much concern over the impact of these escapes on human health and the ecosystem. In this research, we conduct a detailed survey of the diffusion of mercury into the environment during gold extraction/processing. We examine mercury concentrations in river water, bottom sediment, fish, benthos (bottom dwellers), and other organisms, thereby revealing the extent to which mercury progresses up the food chain. Also, in areas of particularly high exposure, we examine airborne diffusion/extent, measure emissions, and sample mercury concentrations within hair samples provided by local residents. We utilize these results to calculate mercury exposure levels within the environment and to assess the risk to the ecosystem. This research was carried out in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Palangka Raya.

Marine resources/foodPreservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2007 Research Grants
Grant term
2 years and 10 months
June 2008 - March 2011
Grant amount
16,719,500 yen
Activity region
Kalimantan (central Indonesia); Yakushima Island, Mt. Fuji, Lake Biwa (Japan)
A mercury-polluted river in Kalimantan Province, Indonesia

Overview of the Organization

Professor Osamu Nagafuchi
Professor Osamu Nagafuchi
Specialist field
Environmental science
Affiliated academic societies
International Water Association; Japan Society on Water Environment; the Japanese Society of LIMNOLOGY; the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice; Japan Society of Civil Engineers; Japan Society for Environmental Chemistry; Japan Association of Aerosol Science and Technology; the Geochemical Society of Japan
In 1974 entered the Fukuoka Prefectural government until 2004, when took a position as Professor at the Chiba Institute of Science. In 2008 became a Professor at University of Shiga Prefecture. Ph.D. (engineering).
WEB site
Collaborating researchers
Takanobu INOUE, Professor, Toyohashi University of Technology; Tomonori KAWAKAMI, Professor, Toyama Prefectural University
Research record
  • (1) O. Nagafuchi, C. Irisa, T. Inoue, S. Ebise, M. Ukita: Study of simple model to assess runoff of defoliant mefenacet, Journal of Water and Environment Technology, Japan Society on Water Environment, 29, 809-813, 2006
  • (2) T. Kawakami, T. Inoue, O. Nagafuchi, S. Kagaya, R. Elvince and Ir. M. Si Ardianor, Extremely high concentration of atmospheric mercury associated with gold mining in the central Kalimantan, Indonesia, J.Ecotechnology Research, Vol. 13, No. 3, 232, 2007
  • (3) R. Elvince, T. Inoue, U. Darung, T. Kawakami, O. Nagafuchi and K. Tsushima, Mercury Comtamination in Lake Tilap, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, J.Ecotechnology Research, 2008