Activities

Training action encourages Namuno miners to replace mercury with a safer method

The objective of the intervention was to train miners to extract gold using sodium borate (borax) and to supervise the use of this technique on the ground.

Joint efforts seek to reduce and / or eliminate clandestine channels for the illegal sale of mercury, which, according to the miners, is brought in by gold buyers and which, as is known, is highly harmful to health and the environment.

Between 25th and 28th February, the Danish NGO "Dialogues" accompanied medicusmundi on a field trip to monitor the use of sodium borate (borax) as an alternative gold extraction method to mercury. Remember that this is a technique in which medicusmundi, in partnership with Centro Terra Viva (CTV), has been training miners in the districts of Ancuabe, Montepuez and Namuno, in Cabo Delgado. The objective was to measure the result of this initiative in the daily activity of the trained miners and also to carry out a new training in the district of Namuno, more specifically in the areas of Nanlia and Waqueia. About 40 miners participated in the training process, of which 20 are members of the 4 mining associations of Nanlia and Waqueia (Associations Nanlia, Waqueia, 3 de Fevereiro and 7 de Abril), and another 20 are artisanal gold miners who do not belong to any association but are working in the two designated areas.

Within the scope of supervision, the objective was to analyze the level of knowledge and dissemination of the gravitational method using the borax, but also to understand the expectations and difficulties encountered in the implementation of this new extraction technique, leaving room for some recommendations.

The supervision and training actions took place on the 25th, 26th and 27th February, with the 28th being dedicated to a meeting to assess and reflect on artisanal mining in the district of Namuno. The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Administrator of that district and was attended by district directors of SDSMAS and SDAE, technicians from DDE, SDPI and PRM, researchers from INS, NIOP and the NGO "Diálogo", besides medicusmundi and CTV. Among the various aspects under analysis at this meeting, the issue of joint efforts to reduce and / or eliminate clandestine channels for the illegal sale of mercury, which, according to the miners, is brought by gold buyers and which, as it is known, it is highly harmful to health and the environment. As a consequence, possible solutions were analyzed to make borax a more accessible product and available at a fair price, as a way to contribute to the abandonment of the use of mercury.

Among the various aspects under analysis at this meeting, one can refer to the joint efforts to reduce and/or eliminate clandestine channels for the illegal sale of mercury, which, according to the miners, is brought by gold buyers and, as it is known, it is highly harmful to the health and environment. As a consequence, possible solutions to make borax a more accessible product and available at a fair price were analyzed, as a way to contribute to the abandonment of the use of mercury.

The activities described fall within the scope of the projects “Artisanal Mining: Environmental and cultural rights in Cabo Delgado”, funded by the European Union, and “Reduction of the negative impact of artisanal mining on individual, community and environmental health”, funded by Generalitat Valenciana.

Published on 13/03/20

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