Community-driven Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) Remediation Planning in Peru

A mission financed by Department of State in USA and administered by Pure Earth (Blacksmith) was carried out by Peter Appel, AppelGlobal and Leoncio Na-Oy together with local consultant Pedro Sifuentes Yepes in two areas of Peru: Amazon part and in the Puno district.

The aim was to test whether it was possible to extract mercury from heavily polluted tailings from small-scale gold miners.

The mercury in the tailings is in form of mercury flour which consists of tiny (less than 1 mm sized) mercury spheres which have lost the capability to coalesce and due to their small size have obtained an unfortunate capability of floating on water. Mercury flour is one of the biggest sources of mercury pollution of our Planet. Extracting mercury flour from tailings is not an easy task, but if a successful method is invented then the cleaning will not be a burden for society, but a major income due to the large amounts of gold captured in the mercury flour.

A gadget (State battery) originally invented by the Australian government in 1850’ies and modernised in a project carried out by Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and financed by the Sumitomo foundation, Japan in 2004 in Philippines was selected for the purpose. The modernised version was termed Peter Plates by the Philippine participants in the project. The Peter Plates proved efficient in capturing mercury flour in tailings from small-scale gold mining (see reference list).

The setup was tested at two sites and the following analytical work will indicate how efficient the Peter Plates are. Testing was carried out mid- and late 2016.

Small-scale mine tailings in a table spoon. Shiny dots are mercury flour

Small-scale mine tailings in a table spoon. Shiny dots are mercury flour