Challenges with minimising mercury pollution in the small-scale gold mining sector: Experiences from the Guianas
Hilson, G. and Vieira, R. (2007) Challenges with minimising mercury pollution in the small-scale gold mining sector: Experiences from the Guianas. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 17 (6). pp. 429-441. ISSN 0960-3123
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09603120701633396
This paper examines the barriers to mitigating mercury pollution at small-scale gold mines in the Guianas (Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname), and prescribes recommendations for overcoming these obstacles. Whilst considerable attention has been paid to analysing the environmental impacts of operations in the region, minimal research has been undertaken to identify appropriate policy and educational initiatives for addressing the mounting mercury problem. Findings from recent fieldwork and selected interviews with operators from Guyanese and Surinamese gold mining regions reveal that legislative incapacity, the region's varied industry policy stances, various technological problems, and low environmental awareness on the part of communities are impeding efforts to facilitate improved mercury management at small-scale gold mines in the Guianas. Marked improvements can be achieved, however, if legislation, particularly that pertaining to mercury, is harmonised in the region; educational seminars continue to be held in important mining districts; and additional outlets for disseminating environmental equipment and mercury-free technologies are provided.