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Abstract Title: Landscape of Mercury-Free Gold Extraction Processes in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining Sector
Presenter Name: Pontsho Twala
Company/Institution: University of the Witwatersrand
Session: Mercury in Artisanal Gold Mining
Day and Session: Wednesday 27th July - Session one
Start Time: 06:30 UTC
Co-Authors: Pontsho Twala

Abstract Information :

The first mercury elimination programs targeting Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) were implemented in the 1980s and 1990s. These programs promoted the use of alternative technologies with the objective of eliminating the use of mercury in gold extraction. Since then, there has been a growing number of mercury-free gold extraction technologies being introduced in the sector. While this is the case, the majority of the miners are still reliant on the amalgamation process to recover gold. The uptake of mercury-free technologies remains low and this is a concern given the inventory of technologies that have been developed for the sector. The objective of the paper is to take stock of the technologies that have been earmarked to eliminate mercury use in the ASGM sector. The paper turns the attention to understanding the technical specifications of the selected technologies alongside the gold processing needs of the ASGM sector. This is done with the aim of establishing the applicability of the technologies in ASGM so as to provide a landscape of mercury-free gold processing technologies that are or could potentially be employed by the ASGM sector.

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