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Particle Size Distribution in ASGM

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Many industries such as food, beauty and pharmaceuticals rely on a specific particle size in order for their product to excel. This is also true in mining; this blog will discuss the importance of particle size as it relates to artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) and how the AGC is using particle size distribution to aid their work in Peru.

In the mining industry, large particles (rocks) are taken from the ground in the form of ore. The ore is then crushed by hand to a more manageable size before it is milled by a machine. Once the ore is milled to a fine dust, the gold is liberated. The size of the dust particles can have a great impact on how much gold a miner can process from their ore.

The degree of liberation of gold is measured by particle size. Particle size is measured in ‘mesh’. Screens are stacked in order to measure the whole range of particles. Very coarse screens are measured in inches and smaller particles are measured in microns.
A set of sieves/screens (see i…

ASGM and Public Health

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The AGC helps miners improve their productivity and helps them to comply with minimal health, safety and environmental standards; this can facilitate the formalisation of their livelihoods, allowing them to increase their income in a safer way for both them and their communities. One of the ways in which the AGC does this is through educating health workers and miners on the risks of certain aspects of ASGM and providing ways to mitigate these risks, while at the same time as training miners on how to process their gold in a safer way, largely by using less or no mercury.  
For the vast majority of the millions of people who work in ASGM worldwide, labor conditions are substandard. There are multiple health risk factors that affect these populations; for example, acute accidents and injuries are common and chronic conditions resulting from exposure to toxins are prevalent, although rarely quantified. Moreover, ASGM communities typically have little to no access to education, health car…