‘Right material’ to efficiently remove mercury from water shows promising results – by Staff (Mining.com – August 17, 2022)


Researchers at Drexel University have found the right material to efficiently catch mercury —even at low levels— and clean up contaminated bodies of water. According to lead researcher Masoud Soroush, adsorption —the process of chemically attracting and removing contaminants— seems to be the most promising technology for removing mercury from water, due to its relative simplicity.

“Modern adsorbents, such as resins, mesoporous silica, chalcogenides, and mesoporous carbons, have higher efficiencies than traditional adsorbents, such as activated carbon, clays, and zeolites that have a low affinity toward mercury and low capacities,” Soroush said in a media statement.

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Pope worried about pollution of rivers with mercury used by gold miners in the Amazon – by Bruno Kelly and Anthony Boadle (Mining.com/Reuters – August 9, 2022)


Pope Francis will install the first cardinal of Brazil’s Amazon region this month in a sign of his concern for the rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants, the man whom he picked for the role said.

Dom Leonardo Steiner, archbishop of the Brazilian city of Manaus, said in an interview that Francis, the first pope from Latin America, is worried about deforestation, threats to indigenous cultures and pollution of rivers with mercury used by gold miners in the Amazon.

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The Illegal Airstrips Bringing Toxic Mining to Brazil’s Indigenous Land – by Manuela Andreoni, Blacki Migliozzi, Pablo Robles and Denise Lu (New York Times – August 2, 2022)


BOA VISTA, Brazil — From 2,500 feet in the air, the dirt airstrip is just a crack in a seemingly endless ocean of rainforest, surrounded by muddy mining pits that bleed toxic chemicals into a riverbed.

The airstrip is owned by the Brazilian government — the only way for health care officials to reach the Indigenous people in the nearby village. But illegal miners have seized it, using small planes to ferry equipment and fuel into areas where roads don’t exist. And when a plane the miners don’t recognize approaches, they spread fuel canisters along the airstrip to make landing impossible.

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Swiss gold refiners pledge to avoid Brazilian Amazon gold – by Dominique Soguel (Swiss Info – June 30, 2022)


In a rare statement, Swiss refiners also said they would take the “necessary technical and humanly possible measures in order not to take, import or refine illegal gold including the one from Brazil by tracing and identifying this gold.” They also urged the Brazilian government of Jair Bolsonaro to do more to protect the indigenous population and the environment.

Gold mining by irregular artisanal miners contributes to the deforestation of the Amazon, leaves the soil poisoned with mercury and encroaches on traditional indigenous lands. Brazilian export data and academic studies suggest much of that gold goes to or through Switzerland, a key player in the global gold trade.

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In Bolivia’s Amazon, wildcat gold mining boom stokes tension over environment – by Sergio Limachi (Reuters – June 10, 2022)


BENI RIVER, Bolivia, June 10 (Reuters) – In Bolivia’s Amazon tensions are rising over a boom in wildcat gold mining that is driving a surge in imports of mercury used to extract the precious metal and is sparking conflict between small-scale prospectors and local indigenous groups.

The landlocked South American nation has seen gold production spike in the last five years, with an important amount of that coming from artisanal miners, officials say. That has risen with the global gold price elevated in recent years.

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Immersed in crisis, Peru neglects Amazon rainforest’s destruction (Nikkei Asia – June 3, 2022)


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Peru has descended into one of the worst political crises in its history and protection of its Amazon rainforest is failing, according to a report published on Thursday. Peru is home to the second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil. The country had pledged to stop deforestation by 2021.

The South American country has been immersed in political turbulence since 2016. Corruption scandals and disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government have led to intense turnover – four presidents in five years. Peru’s current President, leftist outsider Pedro Castillo, has already survived two impeachment attempts since he took office in July 2021.

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14 regions devastated by illegal mining – Mining consultant (Myjoyonline.com – April 29, 2022)


The Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) problems in Ghana are very challenging, especially as they become intensified and difficult to solve by the day.

Currently, ASM activities have seriously affected the lands and waterbodies in fourteen (14) out of the sixteen (16) regions in Ghana. Surprisingly, the actual causes of the menace are poorly understood by the government, hence focusing on unnecessary expenditures that do not yield any significant outcome since 2017.

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Alarming Levels of Mercury Are Found in Old Growth Amazon Forest – by Catrin Einhorn (New York Times – January 28, 2022)


The protected old-growth forest in the Amazon of southeastern Peru appears pristine: Ancient trees with massive trunks grow alongside young, slender ones, forming a canopy so thick it sometimes feels to scientists like evening during the day.

But a new analysis of what’s inside the forest’s leaves and birds’ feathers tells a different story: The same canopy that supports some of the richest biodiversity on the planet is also sucking up alarming levels of toxic mercury, according to a study published on Friday.

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Amazon tribe suffers mercury contamination as illegal mining spreads – by Fabio Zuker (Reuters – December 17, 2021)


Illegal gold mining in the north Amazonian territory of Brazil’s indigenous Munduruku people has led to more than half of several hundred people tested showing unsafe mercury levels in their bodies, including children, health researchers say.

That is a particular worry to human rights defenders, as the country’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro pushes plans to introduce or expand mining and farming in protected areas of the world’s largest rainforest. That would include into indigenenous territory, where mining is currently forbidden by Brazil’s constitution.

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‘It’s as if we’re in Mad Max’: warnings for Amazon as goldmining dredges occupy river – by Tom Phillips (The Guardian – November 24, 2021)


Environmentalists are demanding urgent action to halt an aquatic gold rush along one of the Amazon River’s largest tributaries, where hundreds of illegal goldmining dredges have converged in search of the precious metal.

The vast flotilla – so large one local website compared it to a floating neighbourhood – reportedly began forming on the Madeira River earlier this month after rumours that a large gold deposit had been found in the vicinity.

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New gold rush fuels Amazon destruction (France 24.com – November 9, 2021)


Sao Felix do Xingu (Brazil) (AFP) – Standing over the gaping pit in the middle of his small farm, Brazilian wildcat miner Antonio Silva struggles to explain why he joined the new gold rush sweeping the Amazon.

The 61-year-old grandfather of six had planned to retire from illegal mining, and the environmental destruction that comes along with it. He bought this farm in rural Sao Felix do Xingu, in the southeastern Amazon, and was starting a cattle ranch on a long-deforested patch of jungle where he would not have to cut down more trees.

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Africa’s crackdown on informal gold miners spreads to Mali – by Katarina Hoije (Bloomberg News – November 2021)


Mali is getting closer to bringing in new rules to better control artisanal gold mining and overtake South Africa as the continent’s second-biggest producer.

The country has struggled to keep tabs on informal output that’s sold on the black market or smuggled out, and gold is also being illegally funneled through the nation from its neighbors. While a mining code that came into force in late 2020 set out plans to overhaul the sector, no measures were implemented.

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Analysis: Illegal gold mining in Peru set to continue – by Ben Heubl (Engineering and Technology – July 16, 2021)


Peruvian authorities seem powerless to stop illegal gold mining that has wreaked havoc in the country’s rainforests and is poisoning the environment with mercury. E&T’s analysis shows that the practice boomed during the pandemic.

The price of gold is sensitive to crisis, but can itself be the cause of turmoil, especially in an environmental context.

During the past year and a half of the global pandemic, the gold price reached historic heights. As a result, an artisanal gold-mining boom swept the world, notably in countries that are but resource-rich.

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Going for gold in western Mali threatens human security – by FAHIRAMAN RODRIGUE KONÉ AND NADIA ADAM (Institute For Security Studies – July 8, 2021)


Uncontrolled artisanal gold mining in Kayes is damaging the environment and fuelling trafficking and local conflicts.

Mali’s artisanal gold mining sector regularly uses chemicals and dredges rivers, despite these practices being prohibited. The consequences for human health, environmental sustainability and local stability are dire.

The western region of Kayes is among the most severely affected. It produced an estimated 73% of the country’s 26 tons of artisanal gold in 2019 and generated US$1.23 billion.

Artisanal gold miners mostly use mercury and cyanide to separate gold from other minerals. Institute for Security Studies (ISS) research shows that these chemicals are smuggled into Mali from Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal through illicit trafficking routes.

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Indonesia: Danger Lurks At Illegal Gold Mines – by Keisyah Aprilia (Eurasia Review – March 10, 2021)


Risna recounted scrambling to save herself when dirt and rocks came tumbling into a 49-foot deep pit where she and other residents were mining for gold in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Feb. 24.

Seven people were killed and dozens more survived that landslide at the illegal mining site in Buranga, a village in Parigi Moutong regency, rescue officials had said.

“We the panners scrambled. Some managed to climb to the top but some were buried,” Risna, a 36-year-old woman who goes by one name, told BenarNews.

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