© Kike Arnal
Mercury is the chemical agent most frequently used in the process of gold recovery by Artisanal and Small-Scale miners. If used incorrectly and irresponsibly, it is also a dangerous contaminant, threatening the health of miners, their communities and the environment.
We actively promote mercury-free artisanal mining as the best available technology. At the same time we acknowledge that the mitigation, reduction and elimination of mercury in ASM is a complicated subject that requires global coordination and an agreement to act from many different parties.
A gradual elimination of mercury in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) require holistic strategies, which include:
- Determining where mercury is used and taking measures to educate the miners and the communities about its impacts and best practices.
- Mitigating risk of mercury contamination to people and ecosystems by promoting concentration and the use of retorts.
- Incorporating alternative technologies that can be easily and efficiently adopted by artisanal miners.
- Creating financial and credit systems which will allow miners to access funding for technological advance.
- Facilitating access to new markets in order to create incentives for formalization and the progressive elimination of mercury use.
ARM defends the necessity of Artisanal and Small-scale miners´ active and informed participation in global forums such as the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to prepare a global legally binding instrument on Mercury (INC). The participation of the miners must extend to the implementation of the Minimata Convention, and to the elaboration and evaluation of the public policy and respective legislation by the national governments.
See our resource section for important documents on mercury.