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THE MERCURY PROBLEM IN ARTISANAL AND SMALL-SCALE GOLD MINING
Esdaile, L.J. and J.M. Chalker.
Chemistry: A European Journal 24(27):6905-6916(2018)

Between 10-19 million people use mercury (Hg) to mine for gold in more than 70 countries, making pollution from Hg-dependent artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) a global issue. In practice, elemental Hg is used to extract gold from ore as an amalgam. The amalgam typically is isolated by hand and then heated—often with a torch or over a stove—to distill the Hg and isolate the gold. Hg release from tailings and vaporized Hg exceeds 1000 tonnes each year from ASGM. The health effects on the miners are dire, and communities near the mines are also affected by Hg contamination of water and soil and accumulation in fish. This paper offers a review of the problem of Hg in ASGM with a discussion on how the chemistry community can contribute solutions. https://dspace2.flinders.edu.au/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2328/38221/Esdaile_Mercury_P2018.pdf



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