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ICMGP 2022 – On-Demand / Poster Presentation

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Abstract Title: Recovering Mercury from Contaminated ASGM Tailings in Colombia using Copper Plates
Presenter Name: Alfonso Rodriguez
Company/Institution: Pure Earth
Session: Mercury in Contaminated Sites
Co-Authors: Alfonso Rodriguez

Abstract Information :

In Colombia, mercury-contaminated tailings from ASGM generate a significant impact on the environment and the health of exposed communities. Furthermore, the reprocessing of tailings to obtain residual gold through the cyanidation process further increases the risk of exposure to mercury and mercury cyanide compounds. Under the project ?Promoting Responsible Recovery and Handling of Mercury from Contaminated Artisanal Gold Mining Tailings in Colombia?, funded by the US Department of State (DOS), the NGO Pure Earth has researched techniques to safely recover mercury from ASGM tailings. The ?Copper Plates? technique has been improved to reduce the amount of mercury present in tailings and, thereby, reduce emissions into the environment. This technology recovers significant amounts of mercury, in order to improve the final disposal process and make tailings reprocessing a safer activity. The low-cost implementation and the possibility of processing a large volume of material as well as different types of tailings make this technique very attractive for mining communities interested in protecting the environment. Objectives ? Present the copper plates technique as a viable means of recovering mercury from ASGM tailings ? Show the progress and limitations of the copper plates based on pilot tests carried out in mining areas of Colombia. ? Show the profitability of the process under an ASGM Economic Model

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