Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is considered one of the world’s largest emitters of mercury in the environment, accounting for approximately one-third of all global emissions. Miners use mercury to amalgamate gold. During the amalgamation process, mercury can be released directly into adjacent 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.
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