The Global Environment Facility funded planetGOLD Mongolia project has organized a training session titled “Minamata Convention on Mercury and ASGM” in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Jargalant city, Khovd province on September 18, 2020. The training coincided with the “Silent Threat of Mercury, Minamata Convention” photo exhibition co-organized by the planetGOLD Mongolia project and the Fresh Water Resource and Nature Conservancy Center. Both events were supported by the Local Governor’s Office and the Local Environmental Department in Khovd province.
The training program began with opening speeches from Mr. Batbayar L., the Head of the Local Environmental Department and, Altanbagana B., the National Project Manager of the planetGOLD Mongolia project. The program covered topics on introductions to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the planetGOLD Mongolia project, the National Action Plan, and the National Implementation Plan. Information on the hazardous cycle of mercury, and health and environmental impacts of mercury use was also delivered during the training. In addition, a participatory session on approaches to implement the NAP at the local level, involved the local stakeholders working in groups to identify actions and activities to carry-out the NAP with community efforts. In the latter part of the training, local government officials and the miners teamed up to discuss the first steps to reflect the NAP in their activities after understanding the country’s obligation to the Minamata convention and the NAP. Thirty participants from seven soums (sub-provincial units) who were representatives from the local governments, local environmental departments, and ASGM communities actively participated in the training.
The photo exhibition laid out 50 photos that showcased the history of Minamata disease, mercury use in ASGM in Mongolia before mercury was listed as one of the severely restricted chemicals in the country, and the use of mercury in rudimentary gold extraction in other ASGM countries. The event will be open to the public for 4 days in Jargalant city and one day in Altai soum of Khovd province to raise awareness of the mercury intoxication, health implications, and dangers to the environment.
The training session and photo exhibition brought the importance of the Minamata Convention and the harmful health and environmental impacts of mercury to the attention of the local community, local officials, and the miners.