The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have launched a $ 60 million project entitled “Contribution to Mercury Elimination in the Oil and Gas Sector”. artisanal and small-scale mining of gold: from miners to refiners “. will help reduce harmful mercury emissions and protect the health and well-being of the millions of men, women, and children working in the industry in Mongolia and the Philippines.
According to UNEP, the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector (ASGM) is the largest source of mercury emissions of human origin. It is responsible for the release of 1,000 tonnes of mercury into the atmosphere each year and exposes millions of workers to potential poisoning. In Mongolia, 60,000 workers are employed in the sector – one-third of the rural workforce – producing 46% of the country’s gold production and sustaining 180,000 people. In the Philippines, the sector is responsible for 70% of the country’s gold production, with 500,000 miners providing livelihoods to about two million people.
The project aims to formalize the ASGM sector in both countries by helping miners access responsible gold markets and move to mercury-free extraction and processing. “This launch marks the beginning of a strong, cross-sectoral initiative that will lead the sector towards a more inclusive, formalized, technology-driven and healthy workforce,” said Batbayar Tserendorj, Mongolian Deputy Minister of Finance. Environment and Tourism.
Jacob Duer, UNEP’s Chief of the Chemicals and Health Branch, said the project would bring both global and local benefits, reduce mercury emissions by 40 tonnes in five years, and address the health threats of developing countries. miners, pollution of water sources and damage to ecosystems.
The project is part of the international program “Global Opportunities for the Long-Term Development of the ASGM Sector” (GEF GOLD), funded by the Global Environment Facility. The project is a collaboration with the Artisanal Gold Council and the governments of Mongolia and the Philippines, with financial support from the GEF, Argor Heraeus and the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Source: SDG Knowledge Hub.