Since last March, the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) continues the development of the Mercury Phase-Out Project in Guianas (Guiana, Suriname and French Guiana). The initiative, implemented in alliance with the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), thanks to the leadership of World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and the funding from the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM), aims to implement a mercury-free extraction model in the artisanal and small scale mining, feasible from a technical, environmental, and social perspective based on the CRAFT (Code of Risk-mitigation for Artisanal and small scale mining engaging in Formal Trade). In order to reach that goal, there is work on a progressive reduction of mercury use, which is associated to deforestation due to mining activity in this country.
Géraud Brunel, ARM Manager in Central America and Guianas, and Trevor Franklin, National Project Coordinator, visited the regions of Mahdia and Puruni in Guyana intending to read the territory, understand mining processes, and recognize key allies in the country, which will lead to start the process of selecting mining sites to perform the pilot development of the project. Later, a second mining place will be elected to support miners in this process.
ARM technical expert and the Human Rights specialist, along with the local team in Guiana, are currently working in the field on the technical, environmental, and compliance analysis according with CRAFT Code criteria in several pre-selected mining sites in the regions of Mahdia and Puruni. The visit in Puruni will take place during the first days of June with the team of Conservation International of Planet Gold Guyana Project. The pilot site is expected to be selected in the second semester of 2021.
Additionally, the same process is planned with the national team of Suriname once it is possible to travel for the team, once opening of air space due to COVID-19 contingencies is approved
It is expected to contribute to one of the main goals of the region with this project: to reduce mercury contamination in Guianas by eliminating the use of this element in the gold mining sector, and making a contribution to the reduction of emissions due to mining deforestation by 2025.