Biodiversity Research Institute
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  Tropical Program: ASGM and Mercury
Tropical Program: ASGM and Mercury
BRI'S ACTIVITIES IN ASGM
Reducing mercury use
Reducing mercury use
Assessing environmental impacts
Assessing environmental impacts
Policy and planning
Policy and planning

Mercury Use and Artisanal Small-scale Gold Mining

Miners use mercury to extract gold particles that have been ground and liberated from rock. Mercury and gold bind together forming a mixture called an amalgam. During the amalgamation process, mercury can be released directly into adjacent terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems because of poor care and handling of the liquid mercury. Mercury vapor is also released into the atmosphere when the mercury-gold amalgam is burned. The release of mercury creates a high risk of human exposure and also impacts adjacent terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Highest Mercury Source

HIGHEST MERCURY SOURCE

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is the single largest anthropogenic source of mercury, accounting for an estimated 727 tonnes per year of mercury emissions to the atmosphere and an additional 800 tonnes per year of mercury released directly to land and water.
Reducing mercury use within the ASGM sector requires a multi-disciplinary approach able to address technical, social, economic, and ecological issues that allow for new opportunities for sustainable development. BRI works with multiple agencies and organizations towards this goal.
Development and implementation of miner training resources

Development and implementation of miner training resources

Through funding from the U.S. Department of State, BRI is working with mining engineers and other NGOs to develop a series of training modules on appropriate mining technologies for small scale miners. Each module addresses a specific step in the mining process where the incorporation of appropriate technologies can be introduced to improve efficiency, increase gold recovery, and reduce reliance on mercury.
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Integrated assessment of ASGM in Ghana

Integrated assessment of ASGM in Ghana

BRI is collaborating with North American and Ghanian researchers on an integrated assessment of the gold mining sector of Ghana. The project seeks to develop solutions to water-related problems associated with small-scale gold mining.
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National Action Plan for countries with ASGM

National Action Plan for countries with ASGM

Under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, countries with ASGM activities within their territories are required to develop a National Action Plan outlining the steps the country will take to reduce, and where feasible, elimnate the use of mercury within the ASGM sector. BRI is collaborating with the Natural Resources Defense Council to revise exisiting guidelines for the development of National Action Plans on ASGM.
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Ratification and Early Implemention of Mercury Treaty

RATIFICATION AND EARLY IMPLEMENTION OF MERCURY TREATY

BRI will participate in the sub-regional workshop for Central American countries in support for the ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The workshop will be held in Mexico City from November 26-28, 2014.
Biodiversity Research Institute