Abatement of mercury pollution in the small-scale gold mining industry: Restructuring the policy and research agendas
Hilson, G. (2006) Abatement of mercury pollution in the small-scale gold mining industry: Restructuring the policy and research agendas. Science of the Total Environment, 362 (1-3). pp. 1-14. ISSN 0048-9697
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2005.09.065
This paper critiques contemporary research and policy approaches taken toward the analysis and abatement of mercury pollution in the small-scale gold mining sector. Unmonitored releases of mercury from gold amalgamation have caused considerable environmental contamination and human health complications in rural reaches of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. Whilst these problems have caught the attention of the scientific community over the past 15-20 years, the research that has since been undertaken has failed to identify appropriate mitigation measures, and has done little to advance understanding of why contamination persists. Moreover, the strategies used to educate operators about the impacts of acute mercury exposure, and the technologies implemented to prevent farther pollution, have been marginally effective at best. The mercury pollution problem will not be resolved until governments and donor agencies commit to carrying out research aimed at improving understanding of the dynamics of small scale gold mining communities. Acquisition of this knowledge is the key to designing and implementing appropriate support and abatement measures. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.