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 project was to prove that mercury and gold could be extracted from the mercury polluted tailings from small-scale gold mining in Southern Peru using a method first developed in Philippines and later tested several times on tailings in Nicaragua. The tests were very successful. Five out of ten tests yielded more than 10 percent mercury recovery with peak value of 74 percent. Assays of the tailings showed that most tailings have three-digit high mercury contents with peak value of 480 grams per ton. Those figures are alarming from an environmentally point of view considering that mercury contents in common soil according to World Bank is not supposed to be more than 0.10 gram per ton! Peruvian allowed maximum mercury contents in soil in mining area is 24 grams per ton. Gold contents in tailings peak with more than 50 grams per ton. This shows that large amounts of gold are lost to the environment. Peter Plates indicate a road map towards a cleaner Peru with the extra benefit of gold as a by-product. Peter Plates can process about 100 kg per hour, which obviously is too low compared with the thousands of tons’ tailings in the two test sites and presumably in other sites of Peru. However, a combination with Peter Plates and a recently invented large industrial processing plant processing 15 to 20 tons per hour, which has been tested in Nicaragua may pave the road for a cleaner Peru.

Mercury captured on a Peter Plate

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peru report 2018