GIA Awards $50K Grant to Mercury-Free Mining, ARM
The money will be used to evaluate ore-testing processes at an artisanal gold mining site in Peru.
Announced via news release last week, GIA’s grant will go toward evaluating ore-testing processes at an artisanal gold mining site in Ananea, Peru that could significantly reduce, or even eliminate, the inadvertent release of toxic mercury by artisanal gold miners worldwide.
The Ananea project is part of ARM’s Sustainable Mines Program, built on the CRAFT Code and the Fairmined standard, giving miners the ability to access formal markets as well as the opportunity to improve their mining practices.
GIA’s grant will support the export and testing of gold ore samples from Ananea, located in the Puno Region, high in the Andes Mountains. The money will also go toward improved livelihoods for the miners by helping to create transparent supply chains of certified, traceable, mercury-free gold.
The Ananea samples will be sent to innovative processors in the United States, Colombia, and Peru for scientific analysis and testing to determine each processor’s efficiency compared with the miners’ traditional use of mercury.
Based upon the findings, the miners can choose to implement a pilot program using one or more of the processors. They then will determine for themselves the effectiveness, suitability, and potential financial and health benefits to their communities.
In addition, a project report will be submitted to GIA and used for an article in a future issue of Gems & Gemology.
In the release, the organizations called GIA’s grant a “significant move by the U.S. jewelry industry to proactively address the problem of mercury pollution that is widely associated with subsistence gold mining.”
MFM Executive Director Toby Pomeroy said: “We’re delighted that this GIA grant supports the discovery and implementation of efficient gold ore concentration methods that may help free millions of subsistence gold miners from their dependence on the marginal increases in efficiency that mercury provides.
“It’s exciting to be working for the well-being of miners and the Earth in partnership with these impactful organizations.”
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