Generally small-scale mining does not pay attention to the Health and Safety (HSE) aspect. This is due to the fact that the knowledge and awareness of the miners is limited. The miners do not use personal protective equipment and they work in unsafe conditions, such as working in unsupported holes, digging and excavating below unstable slopes, which consequently causes many mining accidents. on the research site is a small-scale gold mine in Sekotong, West Lombok. In recent years, many people of Sekotong, a small village that is located about 40 kilometers from Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Indonesia, have become gold miners. The small-scale mining in this area is sporadic, disorganized, and used the underground mining method and simple equipment such as crowbars, hammers and chisels. The mining activities are carried out at a depth of approximately 40 meters below the surface with a very narrow entrance that sometimes only is large enough to fit a body. It is not surprising that there are many mining accidents. This paper aims to describe the contribution of rock mechanics to small-scale mining in Indonesia in order to decrease the number of mining accidents because people are not aware of good mining practices, safety and the behavior of rocks.

1 Introduction

Indonesia is a country that has many natural resources and because of this mining activitities in Indonesia are not only done by big companies but also by individuals and small companies. However, actually, small-scale mining is often counter productive because it creates many problems. Usually, the operators of small-scale mines do not pay attention to the Health and Safety aspect due to their lack of knowledge as well as the lack of awareness of the miners. The miners do not use personal protective equipment and they work in unsafe conditions, such as working in unsupported locations or digging and excavating on unstable slopes. Therefore there are frequently many accidents which is some cases are fatal.

According to the report of N.D. Soemantri (2010), several mining accidents caused by underground collapses that resulted in dozens of deaths were recorded. Furthermore, there are many mining accidents that result in either injuries or fatalities that are not reported. Therefore, to date there is no accurate data regarding mining accidents in Indonesia.

Rock mechanics is a science that studies the characteristics and behavior of a rock mass that can be used for designing underground stability. The application of the principles of rock mechanics can assist miners in performing their activities safely. Using the case study from West Lombok, Indonesia as one of small-scale mining centers, it is expected that methodology and principles of rock mechanics can be applied to other small-scale mines.

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