Artisanal Gold Council and the Ministry of Natural Resources Collaborate to Further Advance the Reduction of Mercury Use in the Small and Medium-Scale Mining Sector

Georgetown, GUYANA – As you are aware, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)
continues its critical work in support of the sector of exploring methodologies and technologies
to increase mineral recovery while reducing the use of mercury in the small and medium-scale
mining (SMSM) sector of Guyana. To this effect, the MNR is pleased to be associated with a
new project “Roadmap to Responsible Gold”, being supported by the Artisanal Gold Council
(AGC) over the next 36-months, with funding from the United States Department of State
(USDoS). At its core, the project will support existing national strategies to reduce mercury use
in Guyana’s SMSM sector. The project will pilot technology to further reduce mercury use and
support a roadmap for developing a responsible mercury-free gold-producing sector.

The Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 provides clear guidance in support of low-
impact mining that enhances the employment and economic benefits created by the mining
sectors, while also advancing efforts to safeguard Guyana’s ecosystem services. The
government, in support of its national and international obligations, has established a robust set
of strategic objectives and activities that will see agencies and industry working closely to
advance all viable research and development opportunities that contribute to practical
alternatives to the use of mercury in the recovery of gold. This project will complement the work
of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) in exploring and finding accessible,
applicable, efficient, effective, and affordable solutions in an effort to reduce the use of mercury
while improving the SMSM sector of Guyana.

The AGC intends to introduce a new versatile and cost-effective solution. This new system
shows potential, and could be part of the solution for small and medium-scale miners, as industry
advances efforts toward low-impact mining. The helicoid concentrator, potentially combined
with a practice known as carbon oil agglomeration, is being promoted by the AGC, and will be
piloted on an experimental stage for trials in Guyana’s mining districts. The AGC will be
collaborating with small and medium-scale miners throughout Guyana to identify suitable sites
for piloting the equipment and the design of a local social enterprise. The AGC will be working
to subsidize the cost of the equipment to meet the needs of the local mining community selected
for the pilot installation. Moreover, the business plan template developed will be used to attract
investors who are willing to invest in scaling up operations. This could be a potential benefit for
miners who are willing to advance their operations, increase their gold recovery, and provide
economic benefits for their communities.

The helicoid concentrator has several benefits, including:

  • No use of chemicals
  • Minimal Use of Water:
  • Minimal power requirement
  • Greater than 90% Recovery of Gold from Concentrate
  • Minimal Environmental Impact
  • Mobility and versatility
  • Durability and cost-effectiveness

The AGC looks forward to the outcomes of the project strengthening the capacities of small and
medium scale miners in Guyana. Mining remains fundamental to the local economy and
partnerships and support initiatives will continuously improve the mining sector of Guyana.

Media Contact
Ryan Painter
Communications and Media Relations Specialist
Artisanal Gold Council

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