Fact finding mission in Mauritania

Small-scale gold mining is fairly new in Mauritania, but has quickly gained momentum and many thousands of miners are now digging for gold. Being new in that branch the miners did not know all the facets of recovering gold from their ore. However, an influx of miners from Sudan quickly taught the local miners to use mercury for recovering gold. The wave of small-scale gold miners using mercury prompted the Ministry of Mines to establish government controlled sites where the miners should process their ore. The miners were forced to transport their ore for long distances in order to get their ore processed. The idea of concentrating processing gold ore was that the government could monitor the processing allowing better control and better risk management as well as giving operators access to several services (water, electricity).

However, the Sudanese miners were used to extract gold with mercury and an army of mercury dealers developed quickly. The use of mercury escalated, and prompted the government to look for ways to introduce mercury-free gold extraction. Dr. Helmut Burmeister, Deutsche Gesellshaft für Internationale Zusammenarbejd (GIZ) GmbH, Nouakchott, Mauritania contacted Appelglobal. It was decided to carry out a fact finding mission.

 

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