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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Public Participation in Conducting Independent Monitoring

This project by NGO Independent Ecological Expertise examines the extensive mercury contamination resulting from decades of operation of the Khaidarkan mercury mine, virtually the last primary mercury mine in the world still producing and exporting elemental mercury. Under difficult conditions and considerable resistance from mine management, IEE has undertaken an independent environmental mercury monitoring study, utilising public participation, to add to the available knowledge of mercury contamination around this industrial hot spot. Using a Lumex air sampler, IEE detected elevated airborne mercury on public land close to the factory accumulators. Soil samples reported very high levels mercury contamination in the area of Chauvay (>200ppm) with even higher levels in other sites (>500ppm). Mercury concentrations exceeded water quality guidelines in samples from the River Chatmazar-Sai, the Chauvay-Sai River and in drainage and retention ponds of the mercury mines. This valuable information may prompt further health investigations for local residents while indicating critical areas requiring site remediation and further investigation. This IMEAP project is relevant to Articles 3, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, and 19 of the Mercury Treaty.

Soil monitoring for mercury contamination near Khaidarkan and Chauvay mines (Photo by IEE)

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