For countries where ASGM has been identified as more than insignificant, the Convention requires national action plans to reduce or eliminate the use of mercury in gold amalgamation.
Based on a recent systematic review addressing prenatal MeHg exposure worldwide (5), riverside populations living near ASGM (including those in the Amazon) and consumers of marine mammals in Arctic regions were found to have MeHg intake levels above the WHO/FAO JECFA reference level (1.
Research has shown that in Amazonian ecosystems with ASGM, deforestation, slash-and-burn agriculture, erosion, and other sources of mercury, food chains have often been unevenly contaminated (23, 24).
Results of a survey at ASGM location of Sekotong District of West Lombok conducted by Krisnayanti et al.
3] indicated that gold mine tailings at various ASGM locations in the Sekotong District of West Lombok contained 1.
5) The ASGM industry emits an estimated annual average of 1,000 metric tons of inorganic mercury, about one-third of which is thought to go into the air while the rest winds up in piles of mining waste ("tailings"), soils, and waterways.
Some 10-15 million people in 70 countries work in the ASGM trade.
Sediment and mercury fluxes associated with ASGM activities were estimated based on a river sediment sampling campaign carried out in conjunction with the ASGM survey, and on subsequent modeling of river sediment transport.
Acute mercury exposure by inhalation during the burning of mercury-gold amalgam represents an important health concern at ASGM camps and gold shops.
In Sekotong artisanal gold mining area, in addition to amalgamation with mercury (Hg) which is the common method used by the ASGM miners, there was a cyanidation processing to separate the gold from the soil.
However, conventional engineering systems to rehabilitate degraded mining land are expensive and mostly rely on the technologies that hardly meet the ASGM miners' conditions.
The project also supports targeted subnational governments to better collaborate with the formal extractive sector and supports the formalization of ASGM
activities through legal trade of responsible artisanal gold and value-added products in domestic and international markets.