Dispatches From The Field is a monthly video series from planetGOLD spotlighting unique stories coming out of countries in the planetGOLD programme as we work to demonstrate a pathway to cleaner and more efficient artisanal and small-scale gold mining practices that benefit everyone, from mine to market.
Each month we dive into some of the obstacles and barriers that miners have faced, while featuring champions that are breaking through these challenges to advance responsible mining and make meaningful change on the ground. Ultimately, the series aims to showcase and celebrate positive ripple effects the program is having on individuals and communities alike toward making mercury history in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
Episode 1: Demver Suzara, the Philippines
In the first episode of Dispatches From The Field, meet Demver Suzara, a small-scale miner in the Philippines. Mercury has been used for decades to collect gold in his community of Paracale, but he sees a brighter future. He is advocating to make mercury history in his community and is actively working with the planetGOLD Philippines project to install a mercury-free processing system.
Episode 2: Chris Alphonso, Guyana
In episode two, meet Chris Alphonso, a medium-scale miner in Guyana's hinterland. Until recently, using mercury was the best way he knew of to extract his gold, but since he partnered with planetGOLD Guyana to install a mercury-free demonstration project on his land, he has seen firsthand the benefits of using clean technologies and now encourages other miners to take up responsible mining methods.
PLUS: You can explore Chris' mine, the demonstration circuit, and the nearby gold town of Mahdia via this 360° interactive virtual tour.
Episode 3: Mercury Free Mining in Burkina Faso
Our third journey takes us to Burkina Faso. Artisanal & small-scale gold mining has been steadily growing there over the last decade, with most miners lacking finances and training to utilize methods that do not use toxic mercury.
But a newly installed mercury free processing system at planetGOLD Burkina Faso's project site is providing an opportunity for miners to train and experience firsthand the benefits of alternative technologies that can help end mercury use in the country's mining sector.
Episode 4: Mary Alwanyi, Kenya
In episode four, meet Mary Alwanyi, a small-scale miner and well-known community activist in Kakamega County, Kenya. She and other women from her community process gold in her backyard using mercury, but she is eager to get equipment that can help her get more gold without the use of this toxic chemical.
Hear her story and see how planetGOLD Kenya is working to help her improve her chances of getting financing to afford the mercury-free equipment she needs.
Episode 5: Helping miners access financing in Peru
The fifth episode looks at innovative approaches the planetGOLD Peru project is piloting to unlock flows of formal finance for small-scale miners, which is critical for them to make the transition to mercury-free.
By designing financial products specifically for the sector, improving financial institutions' understanding of this unique industry, and developing a new financing mechanism, the project is working to overcome a major barrier in the shift to responsible, mercury-free ASGM.
Episode 6: Working to #EmbraceEquity for women gold miners
Anne Desma is a small-scale gold miner and community leader in western Kenya who is determined to lead her community toward mercury-free mining. Women like her have a key role to play in the push to make mercury history in the ASGM sector globally.
On International Women's Day 2023 we recognized Anne and all of the women miners who are showing that to achieve a responsible artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector it is key to embrace equity for all.
To catch next month's episode, be sure to subscribe to planetGOLD's YouTube channel to follow miners and teams from planetGOLD countries around the world on their journey to making mercury history in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.