The Miami Herald in 2018 and now Buzzfeed and the NYT in 2019 have published, once again, the typical easy story on alluvial gold mining in the Amazon: The very simplistic and oft repeated "mining is bad" story. They cast a pall over any and all that are involved in artisanal mining. What they report is not entirely untrue, but it is far from representative of the vast world of artisanal mining in the 82 countries where it occurs. Worse though, is that stories like this damage the fragile peace that has been obtained between governments and artisanal miners the world over during the last decade. The peace has been largely brokered by the UN and the OECD with their initiatives on mercury pollution (the Minamata Convention) and transparency (Due Diligence in the Gold Supply Chain). Mostly what the UN and OECD have championed though, is recognition of the huge development opportunity the artisanal gold mining sector represents. Helping the sector become a responsible one contr…
Can borax replace mercury in artisanal gold mining? – or is it better concentration that can replace mercury? Does Borax really have anything to do with it?
Is Borax a Miracle Chemical?
Those promoting borax as a replacement for mercury in small scale gold mining are overselling it and risk giving the impression that there is a miracle cure. They may be well intentioned but they are misleading the world by claiming that borax is a direct replacement for mercury. This is simply not true.
The bar of gold shown here was entirely produced using borax. It was also entirely produced using mercury. How can that be if the word going around is that borax is a replacement for mercury?
It is not. Borax is used in every Artisanal and Small Scale Mining gold shop in the world and has been for a hundred years. It has been used in pottery glazes for centuries for the same reason. It is a flux. Background: if a miner has 10 kilograms of sand that contains 10 grams of gold, t…
When asked what the Artisanal Gold Council’s mission is and about my own vision for the improvement of the artisanal gold mining sector, I explain that it is mainly two simple things. First, it is about the improvement of the artisanal gold mining sector writ large so that it can better perform its role in delivering development to the rural poor, essentially helping the sector to deliver the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). And secondly, that the approach we use to do this, is professionalization, that we aim to professionalize the artisanal gold mining sector. In fact, professionalization of the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector (ASGM) is largely what the Artisanal Gold Council does. To draw attention to this approach, I have been using the tag lines: #ProfessionalizeASGM #ProfessionalizeArtisanalMining #ProfessionalizeGold
What does this really mean, to professionalize the artisanal gold mining sector, and why do it?