Most artisanal miners use mercury to concentrate gold. Artisanal gold mining is the biggest source of mercury pollution in the world.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
One could decide to boycott artisanal gold. But that would hurt the world’s estimated 20 million artisanal gold miners and their families in some of the world’s poorest nations, for whom there are few other available jobs. A better solution is to help artisanal miners to find an alternative to mercury.
Kevin Telmer (a participant in our film) is a mining engineer who founded the Artisanal Gold Council to collaborate with artisanal miners worldwide and come up with innovative and cost-effective ways for artisanal miners to concentrate gold without mercury. What is particularly impressive about their technology is that it actually produces more gold. They have already provided equipment and training in mercury-free techniques to thousands of miners around the world. The organization’s current goal is to scale up the programs to reach many more miners in many more countries. That will cost a lot of money. So…
To accelerate the move away from mercury, Kevin Telmer has come up with an innovative way to support responsible artisanal mining through investment. The Artisanal Gold Council has created an Exchange Traded Fund soon to be traded on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. Investors will own shares in a fund backed by responsible artisanal gold, and a portion of the profits will go to accelerate the adoption of mercury free technology. The Artisanal Gold Council has also recently been named one of the principle implementers of the UN GEF project aimed at eliminating mercury from the artisanal gold mining sector.