With the aim of reducing environmental pollution caused by the mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in Peru, the planetGOLD Peru and GIRH-TDPS projects, GEF initiatives implemented by the Ministry of Environment (MINAM) with the technical assistance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), delivered 4 gravimetric pilot plants to reduce ASGM mercury use in the Puno region, located in the south of the country.
The inauguration ceremony, co-organized with the Regional Directorate of Energy and Mines of Puno (DREM Puno), was held on August 18th at the DREM Puno facilities and included the participation of the General Directorate of Mining Formalization of the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM), the Regional Governor of Puno and representatives of MINAM and UNDP.
During the event, Cecilia Cermeño Castromonte, Environmental Quality and Eco-efficiency Director of MINAM, highlighted the commitment to show the quality of the environment for the population benefit. Along these lines, she pointed out that "the country signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which seeks to protect the environment and people from the harmful effects of mercury and that, in order to comply with it, MINAM has been working in coordination with other sectors and International Cooperation.”
“This progress is consistent with the First Multisectoral National Policy for Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining that the State has been promoting, which includes services to assist artisanal and small-scale miners in the use of clean technologies, seeking optimization, reduction and subsequent elimination of mercury in gold processing” said Alberto Rojas, Mining Formalization General Director of MINEM.
The pilot plant installed in the DREM Puno facilities will serve to train miners, professors, students, and researchers from the entire region, by carrying out metallurgical tests. Likewise, the pilot plants donated to the Limata, Jesús 2004 tres and CruzPata Chaquiminas mining organizations will allow them to avoid the annual use of 150 kg of mercury in the Ananea district (Puno).
On August 19th, the opening day of the gravimetric pilot plants in mining operations was held. This activity was attended by representatives of MINAM, MINEM, UNDP and the Regional Government of Puno. The visit included a demonstration of the efficiency of the plants to recover gold without mercury and a guided tour of the mining operations.
In this regard, Rocío Santivañez, Control of Contamination and Chemical Substances Director of MINAM, congratulated the commitment of the mining organizations that are part of this transition towards clean technologies. “The results they obtain will be a benchmark for other small-scale mining organizations that want to work caring for the environment; ASGM is an important sector for our country, and we hope that in the future they will use no mercury” she emphasized.
The four pilot plants were acquired thanks to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the planetGOLD Peru and GIRH-TDPS projects implemented by MINAM. These equipments allow the efficient recovery of gold without the use of mercury since they work with gravimetric processes and water recirculation.
Jorge Álvarez, Environmental Sustainability Program Officer of UNDP, thanked the Peruvian Government for allowing UNDP to accompany the processes of compliance with the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Sustainable Development Goals. “As an agency of the United Nations, I reiterate our commitment to reach 2030 with goals related to sustainable development and we are pleased to accompany this process of transferring clean technologies that will allow to care the environment and to improve the quality of life for people whose livehood depends on artisanal and small-scale mining."