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Abstract Title: TOWARDS MERCURY REDUCTIONS IN ASGM
Presenter Name: Prof Alex Pfaff
Co-Presenters/Co-authors:Mr William Pan
Prof Adam Kiefer
Company/Organisation: Duke University
Country: United States

Abstract Information :

The MINAMATA Convention has strengthened mandates for ASGM for shifts to mercury-free activities, yet this transition poses some serious challenges that have not been fully vetted in all relevant contexts. First are critical technical realities that affect applications of even partial solutions, based on differences in ore bodies, knowledge, habits, and culture. Second are important constraints within the realities of supply chains for gold and mercury − including local buying and selling relationships: some involving illegalities; and all affecting the share of the market prices that miners receive and thus incentives to invest towards Hg-free gold even if consumer might reward it. Third are policy and regulatory realities which influence both of the prior categories, through the provision of information and incentives for technology options, both support and punitive interventions (fines or destruction of equipment).

For identifying important gaps and strategizing on how to bridge them, we will build on meetings we’re hosting with Pure Earth Colombia to facilitate discussions with stakeholders and international experts regarding pressing decisions in ASGM. One important area is the potential for miners to bring their ore to higher capital Hg-free processing. Another is management of contaminated tailings, regarding both gold and mercury flows. Another is interactions with heath challenges, including malaria transmission. Underlying themes are incentives for adoption and the local net benefits or net costs of Hg-free ASGM. Discussions of all of these will leverage our own case studies from ongoing work in Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Peru where, with a range of partners, we are evaluating different types of miner adoption.

The major deliverable from this workshop will be an increased network – with newly shared details of cases to complement the bottom-up discussions planned by Marcello Veiga – to discuss realistic approaches to meaningful (likely differentiated) progress across varied contexts considered with our participants.



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