In 2014 and 2015 Danish Ministry of Environment rewarded AppelGlobal, Elplatek and Danish Technical University a grant to determine possibilities to extract mercury flour from tailings from small-scale gold mining.

The project is carried out in cooperation with Oro Industries California and Recursos Encinal Nicaragua with logistic support from Ensome Nicaragua

The scope is to exploit different methods to extract mercury flour from the hundreds of thousands of tailings presently littering SE Asia, Africa, South- and Central America.

At present all results are confidential.

Mercury flour is droplets (about 1 mm) of metallic mercury. They were formed when gold ore is milled together with mercury in rod-or ball mills (whole ore amalgamation). During milling part of the mercury is pounded to mercury-flour. The droplets cannot coalesce and can therefore not be captured by the small-scale gold miners. The reason that they cannot coalesce is that the droplets are coated with a thin film of mercury oxide which prevents them to coalesce. The droplets are so small that they easily floats on water and is lost to tailings and from there goes into the drainage pattern.

Formation of mercury flour is one of the major pollutants of Planet Earth. Mercury flour contains appreciable amounts of gold which is lost to the environment.

If mercury-flour can be captured mercury pollution will decrease significantly and a substantial income will be gained from the recovered gold.

Report on Cleaning mine tailings Nicaragua (pdf 5.9MB)

Appel, P.W.U., Na-Oy, Hatsukawa, y:, Osawa, T., Kystol, J. & Sørensen, L.L. 2011: Cleaning mercury polluted mine tailings in the Philippines. Danmarks. Grønlands. Geol. Unders. Rap. 2011/127, 39 pp.