Session Title :

Fixing the world's biggest mercury problem: artisanal and small scale gold mining

Synopsis :

The Special Session will provide the latest findings and solutions to the world's largest anthropogenic source of mercury to the environment: artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM). Topics covered are: Emissions inventories to air and water - historic and current; world hot spots; fate and transport; contamination and remediation; health - occupational, public, and ecosystem, reduction strategies - technical and holistic.

Description :

Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) has become the world’s largest anthropogenic source of mercury to the environment. Yet gaps in our understanding of mercury in ASGM remain. This session will provide the most recent estimates of the amount and location of mercury releases from ASGM globally, the most recent research on the fate of those releases to the atmosphere and hydrosphere, the current thinking on the best strategies to prevent the use of mercury in ASGM, and how to monitor progress in reductions. This information is needed by governments, agencies, and stakeholders, to focus resources and make decisions about prevention efforts and ultimately remediation of legacy pollution. With over 10 million small scale gold miners operating in over 70 countries worldwide, and releasing as much as 1400 tonnes of mercury to the environment annually (www.mercurywatch.org), this information is needed more than ever.