Conservation International launches project for mercury-free mining

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman (fourth from left) and Officials of Conservation International Guyana (DPI photo)

Conservation International Guyana yesterday launched an initiative to achieve mercury-free mining by 2025.

According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the $1.2B project Eldorado Gold Project  is a collaborative effort between Conservation International (CI) Guyana and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and will see the involvement of stakeholders and artisanal and small-scale miners in Regions Eight and Nine

Project Director, Ingrid Sarabo said the initiative is one of two major projects, aimed at eliminating mercury in Guyana’s artisanal, small and medium gold mining sector. It employs a supply chain approach.

According to Sarabo, this is a “component” of responsible mining which “seeks to guide the transition to mercury-free mining and promote the adoption of environmentally friendly approaches to mining….”

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman told the Cara Lodge gathering   that the initiative has government’s full support and that the administration has “a simple threefold approach.” He said that the government is of the opinion that mercury should not be easily accessible and noted that his ministry is working “with the EPA, the GGMC and the pesticides and toxic chemicals control board to ensure that mercury cannot and should not enter into our country in the manner in which it did decades ago”.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will be working with the French Global Environment Facility to work with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commissions (GGMC) to comply with the Minamata Convention. Through this project, there will be demonstrations of mercury-free extraction models and sharing of mercury data on a regional level.

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