Sharing observations and lessons learned from planetGOLD project initiatives to advance mercury-free technical solutions
As Member States and observers gather this week in Geneva, Switzerland for the 5th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-5), one key issue on the agenda will be work to reduce and eliminate mercury use in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector. To help contribute to the global knowledge base on this critical issue, the GEF-supported planetGOLD programme has developed an information document on lessons learned from technology transfer activities in planetGOLD phase 1 projects.
This document summarizes activities and interventions among projects in planetGOLD to advance responsible mining and eliminate mercury from the ASGM gold supply chain, through technology transfer, technical support, training, and sharing knowledge on best practices in mercury-free gold processing.
When used properly, technologies and practices that reduce or eliminate the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining can extract a greater amount of gold than traditional methods using mercury amalgamation—leading to more income for miners and their families and fewer risks to their health, their communities, and the environment.
All projects that are part of the planetGOLD programme, led by the UN Environment Programme, are promoting and piloting alternative technologies and processes with artisanal and small-scale gold miners. While every site is unique, the mercury-free production methods being piloted by the country projects usually involve improved crushing and milling techniques, improved gravity concentration tools such as sluicing and shaking tables, flotation, and/or chemical leaching.
Projects also carry out training and capacity building activities to increase miners’ knowledge of—and comfort with—mercury-free mining practices. As a result, project teams have made key advances toward helping miners undertake the transition to mercury-free methods.
For a full overview of the interventions that have been carried out across the planetGOLD programme as of June 2023, read the information document "Making Mercury History in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining: Technology Transfer Experiences in the planetGOLD Programme."