19-02-2013 Demerara Waves Online News (Guyana)
As Guyana explores various options to phase out the use of mercury in keeping with international guidelines, a Canadian gold exploration company is showing off its mercury-free gold recovery technology.
Mulgravian Ventures (Guyana) Inc. has procured a "screening plant" for use in its operations in the North West District operations, according to the Government Information Agency (GINA).
The company’s Chief Operations Officer Vern Matkovich said that this technology, which was purchased to aid their own exploration activities, offers a very efficient way to gold recovering and eliminates the use of mercury.
This particular technology was first developed in New Zealand, but it can be constructed anywhere. The cost varies depending on the size, he was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).
Natural Resources and the Environment Minister, Robert Persaud says the piece of technology can assist greatly in the process of phasing out the use of mercury in mining operations.
Persaud commended the company for the initiative. "We want to try as much as possible to introduce mercury free technology.”
The use of mercury is not banned in Guyana, but Government aims to gradually phase out its use in keeping with international deadlines.
“From the Ministry, the Government and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, we have to look for what is cost effective, what is good for the environment, and what makes for good mining and business sense,” Persaud said.
The Ministry has also been looking in the direction of incentives for miners who invest in mercury-free technology. In this regard, discussions were held with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and with individual miners.
He added that the availability of this technology will take the mining industry beyond certain challenges that exist.
Government recognises the environmental and human health risks of mercury and pollution to the environment and is committed to place continuous focus on technical and financial resources in the gold mining sector in order to address the issues surrounding its use.
Studies done in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have shown high levels of mercury in the environment and the blood streams of many miners.