Devil’s Gold

Roughly 300 miners a day climb two miles up the Kawah Ijen mountain and then descend more than 900 yards in their search for “devil’s gold.” This is one miner’s story of hard work, courage, and suffering all in the name of family.

Director’s Vision

As tourists funnel down a steep, narrow path into the crater, a small group of miners, carrying up to 100 Kg’s of Sulferic rock, fill their baskets and begin the climb up. These men work all night long, carrying multiple loads of sulfur up to the rim of the volcano, and then another 2 miles back to the village.

By selling the sulfuric rock, miners can earn 4-5x more than alternative work like farming or construction. However, it does come with a price. The life expectancy of a miner is cut short. Toxic gas spouts from the ground beneath them as they work, damaging their lungs.

Directors Alex Sworik and Daniel Agre went to Ijen to meet Selemat, one of Ijen veteran sulfur miners. With the help of an amazing local guide and crew, we are able to glimpse into Selemat’s day to day life and his heroic story built around family.