Summary

A large number of small-scale gold miners extract gold in the Segovia province of Antioquia, Colombia. The mined ore is transported to processing plants in the town Segovia, where a two-step gold extraction takes place. First step is gold extraction using mercury. Second step entails cyanidation. This calls urgently for alternative methods such as the mercury-free gold extraction invented three decades ago in the Philippines and still is used by more than 25,000 small-scale miners. Workshops and lectures for representatives from two mining associations and local government officers have been held explaining the mercury-free method. One mine has been visited as well as several processing stations where the mercury-free method has been discussed. Meetings with miner’s associations indicated that they were very positive towards initiatives to reduce/stop use of mercury. Colombian government issued law 1658 in 2013 on use of mercury giving the miners 5 years for the transition. The ban started 16thJuly 2018 so it is obvious high time for intervention.

The entire report can be downloaded here: Fact finding mission Colombia (pdf 594KB)