A PROGRAM FOR SUPPLANTING MERCURY IN ARTISANAL AND SMALL-SCALE GOLD MINING
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractArtisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is an unmaximized opportunity for socio-economic prosperity. It describes a heterogeneous sub-sector with ~20 million workers in over 80 countries generally characterized by low capital expenditure, mechanization, and informality. Despite a half century of targeted efforts multiple negative impacts remain. Of high significance is the use of mercury. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin which is often used to concentrate gold and ASGM is the leading anthropogenic source of mercury pollution. This project is testing if ASGM actors are rational agents without particular adherence to mercury, if processing KPI’s can be analyzed remotely with sampling, and if increased consumer demand can fuel said technical research. This is being completed by developing a system, now in a pilot, investigating how mercury-free processes vary in effectiveness with ore character. It is in pilot with two ASGM cooperatives in Puno Peru. To date, the results indicate these miners are rational agents and said miners are seeking information which they can use to trust mercury-free gold concentrators. Next steps include scaling the system to additional mines.
Degree ProgramMining Engineering