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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

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Mercury: Byproduct and Source of Contamination of Large-Scale Gold and Silver Mining

Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales (OLCA) conducted a literature review and community based research in order to produce a report detailing the contamination and pollution coming from two open pit gold and silver mines in Chile. Among other results, OLCA found that both these mines use a very toxic process (cyanide) for extracting these metals, which has been found to leech mercury and cyanide into the environment. Additionally, workers at these mines were found to have symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning. Strengthening enforcement of existing regulations, demanding transparency from the corporations running these mines, supporting participatory actions in the affected communities, and encouraging the Chilean government to ban cyanide extraction and adopt alternative methods of mining are specific recommendations resulting from the report.

La Coipa mine

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Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales (OLCA)
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