Cleaning rivers from mercury in Honduras


Three Danish companies behind a revolutionary project

With a generous grant from The Danish Ministry of Environment, the Danish consortium, Elplatek, FL Smidth and AppelGlobal is about to start a one-year long project, that can solve one of the biggest problems Mother Earth have, Mercury. Together with the Honduran Ministry of Environment, Energy and Mines the Danish consortium will initially start the project around the area of Choluteca watershed that empties into the Gulf of Fonseca, that borders El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. 

On the Pacific Coast thousands and thousands of small-scale scale gold miners have for decades extracted gold by using mercury in the process. About half of it – estimated to five tons annually – is released into the watersheds, that ends up in the Gulf of Fonseca. A biological productive place where shrimps, clams and scalefish are produced both for local consumption and export – and most of the producers are not aware that the seafood contains large amounts of mercury that threatens health and life.

The Danish project will put an end to it, by simply extracting sediments with mercury from the rivers. The mechanical extraction of mercury can “clean” up to 20 tons polluted sediment per hour, and the mercury will later be shipped out of Honduras and to Switzerland where it will be immobilized and later deposited in abandoned deep salt mines in Germany.

The second part of the pilot project in Honduras will be to introduce the mercury-free gold extraction method to the thousands of small-scale miners. A simple but efficient technique that was introduced in Benguet in The Philippines more than 40 years ago, and the project in Honduras will include training that will show the miners that they can recover more gold without the use of mercury.

Finally, and as part of the project, the consortium will also establish geochemical baselines in 30 different locations to document the amount of mercury that has been released into the watersheds for the last two decades.

Read more about the project  – HERE –