GENEVA, 26 November 2019 - In the framework of the third Conference of the Parties of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP3), the government of Switzerland, UNIDO and the Better Gold Inititative organized a side event focused on mercury-free artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) that aimed at discussing the implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreement regarding this sector in several countries.
On Tuesday 26th November, the side event focused on mercury-free ASGM took place in order to discuss the current challenges as well as the way forward for this specific sector, focusing on three main areas: 1) Access to market and traceability of the gold supply chain; 2) Formalization of the sector; and 3) Sound management of the tailings from ASGM.
The event started with key note speeches from Switzerland, Ecuador, Ghana and the Artisanal Gold Council. This set the ground for group discussions on the same three thematic focuses. Close to 100 representatives from governments, private sector (gold refiners, jewellery sector and waste management companies among others), international organizations and civil society actively participated in this discussion.
While country-specific circumstances must always be taken into consideration, some challenges are similar in most ASGM countries and the related solutions and lessons learned can be shared and replicated. The active engagement of the various participants clearly demonstrated that such exchange of information on the different challenges present in the sector is necessary in order to be able to transform the ASGM into a more sustainable sector.
Photos: Minamata Convention - Kiara Worth.