vrijdag 23 mei 2014

Het kan dus: goudwinnen zonder kwik > Philippine miners agree to stop mercury use

Philippine miners agree to stop mercury use

Eco-friendly gold mining techniques to be brought in

23-05-2014 Jefrey Tupas, Davao City, UCANews, Bangkok, Thailand


Some 200 small-scale miners in the gold rush village of Mount Diwata in the Southern Philippines entered into an agreement with an environmental justice group on Thursday to end the use of mercury in mining.

Part of the deal calls for the group Ban Toxics!, in partnership with the UN Industrial Development Organization, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, to open a mercury-free gold processing facility.

Eve Cubelo, artisanal and small-scale gold mining program manager of Ban Toxics!, said her group will introduce local miners to the 'Benguet Method', a gold mining approach used by inhabitants of the northern province of Benguet where borax, or sodium borate, are used to extract gold from ore instead of mercury.

"The method is so far the best alternative to the mining practice that involves mercury," said Cubelo, adding that they are still exploring other methods.

"Ultimately, we hope to totally eliminate the use of mercury in the small-scale mining industry," she told ucanews.com.

Pedro Samillano, village chief of Mount Diwata, said the offer from Ban Toxics! is worth a try. "We want to take part in this change," he said.

Mount Diwata is known to have one of the largest gold deposits in the country. Government estimates that some $46 million worth of gold is produced in the area annually.
Mount Diwata, however, has gained global notoriety for the use of mercury.

"We believe the small-scale miners of Mount Diwata are willing to change if they were given the chance and the choice," said Richard Gutierrez, executive director of Ban Toxics!

The facility will employ the use of Benguet method, an enhanced traditional technique utilizing gravity and borax predominantly used in the Benguet, and has been popularized by BAN Toxics in the Philippines and in other parts of the world.

Ban Toxics! will be bringing in trainers from other parts of the country, miners who have abandoned mercury use, to educate and train the small-scale miners of Mount Diwata to utilize mercury-free techniques in gold extraction. Mercury use in small-scale mining was banned by Executive Order 79 in 2012.

Although illegal, mercury can be bought at P5,000 to P8,000 per kilogram through unregulated markets. According to a study conducted by the United Nations Environment Program, artisanal and small-scale gold mining is the single largest mercury-emitting sector in the world.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) estimates the annual mercury discharge in the Philippines at around 70 metric tons.

“We have witnessed many stories of the transformation of miners who stopped using mercury in gold mining through the help of Ban Toxics!.We don’t want to be witnesses anymore. We want to take part in this change and make a positive contribution to our community,” said Barangay Mount Diwata captain Pedro Samillano.

The facility was made possible through the support of the Global Environment Facility and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental and Management Bureau, the Department of Health and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.

Noot:
Dit bericht heb ik ook gelinkt naar mijn Facebookpagina met een bericht voor Ban Toxics! dat hier, in Suriname, kleinschalige goudzoekers ook gebruikmaken van kwik in hun goudwinningsproces en dat er nauwelijks actie wordt ondernomen, door wie of wat dan ook, om de goudzoekers te ondersteunen om over te stappen op milieuvriendelijke winningsmethoden. Ban Toxics! plaatste vervolgens deze reactie:
'Thanks so much Paul. We have materials in our website, which you are most welcome to use. If there's any other help we can extend please let us know. We have helped miners in Indonesia, Tanzania, and other countries as well.'

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