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A Toxics-Free Future

ASGM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/world/asia/indonesia-gold-environment-mercury.html

One large mining company is trying to shut illegal operations, which use mercury. The small-scale miners say there’s no other way to earn a living.

By Richard C. Paddock

Photographs by Adam Dean

IPEN Press Release

(Geneva, Switzerland): In a world first, the environmental treaty named after the devastating mercury pollution tragedy in Minamata, Japan, has just announced its decision to release global guidance on the clean up of mercury polluted sites.

After 4 years of hard negotiations and campaigning by IPEN, overcoming resistance from global powers such as the EU and the US, and with the steadfast support of the African region and many other countries, the Minamata Convention on Mercury has finally adopted official Contaminated Sites Guidance.

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In the run-up to the Mercury Treaty's 3rd Conference of the Parties (COP3), which will take place in Switzerland from 25 - 29 November, 2019, IPEN has prepared three informative briefs related to contaminated sites; mercury waste thresholds and definitions; and dental amalgam and gold plating (review of Annex A (mercury-added products) and Annex B (processes using mercury).

These briefs provide information about why IPEN believes guidance on contaminated sites must be adopted at the COP3; why 1 mg/kg for mercury waste thresholds should be the maximum concentration for health and environment protections; and why IPEN suports amendments to Annex A and B of the treaty. 

A small mine on Sumbawa. Miners often dig for ore on land without permission or government permits. Credit...Adam Dean for The New York Times

New York Times - Hidden Cost of Gold

By

CIDAHU, Indonesia — Thousands of children with crippling birth defects. Half a million people poisoned. A toxic chemical found in the food supply. Accusations of a government cover-up and police officers on the take.

This is the legacy of Indonesia’s mercury trade, a business intertwined with the lucrative and illegal production of gold.

This project and report sought to disseminate information about the risks of using mercury, as well as to identify the authorities’ responsibility to comply with international commitments such as the Minamata Convention. More specifically, the project aimed:

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