Region’s miners target of new mercury agreement


Few of the raggedly dressed miners panning for gold in the deep canyons and river basins of Antioquia, Colombia, were aware last month of the passing of a momentous new treaty in Geneva. But many experts say that if the Minamata Convention on Mercury agreed to Jan. 19 by 140 nations works as intended, it could improve the health of miners and the environment. Mercury, used by miners to separate gold from surrounding rock, is a powerful neurotoxin. The new treaty calls for mandatory measures to reduce use of the element in artisanal and small-scale gold production. It also seeks to regulate trade in mercury so the substance is not diverted to informal miners, preventing contamination of the soil, water and air. Those measures... [Log in to read more]

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