Study finds safer way to deal with mercury from mines

THE use of mercury in small-scale alluvial gold mining is now better understood because of a study in Morobe by the Mineral Resources Authority, Japan’s University of Kyoto and University of Technology’s mining engineering department.
The study involved assessing a machine for the recovery of mercury used in alluvial mining, said the authority in a statement.
It was done at the authority’s small-scale mining branch in Wau and involved the trial of an amalgam retorting machine brought in from Kyoto University.
“The objective was to test-run the Japanese mercury recovery kit, a prototype amalgam retorting machine for the recovery of mercury and critically assess the overall performance, its efficiency and ease of operation of the device,” the statement said.
“From the results obtained, the research team concluded, after careful assessment of the overall performance and efficiency of the mercury recovery kit, that it was an appropriate technology and should be used in Papua New Guinea’s artisanal and small-scale gold-mining industry for mercury and recycling recovery.”
Authority managing director Philip Samar said the study looked at ways to reduce and mitigate the increased use and disposal of mercury into the environment.
It also looked at how to increase alluvial gold production while ensuring the protection of the environment and the wellbeing of alluvial miners in the country.

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