Join us for a Policy@UBC and CIRDI seminar series event titled Miners, Minerals and Minamata: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on ASGM and Sustainable Development with Kirsten Dales, Director, Program Development, Canadian International Resources & Development Institute (CIRDI).

12:30 – 1:45 pm
Thursday, October 26
Caseroom – Liu Institute for Global Issues
Light refreshments offered.

The Artisanal and Small-scale Gold (ASGM) mining sector represents the largest source of anthropogenic mercury emissions globally (UNEP, 2013). Despite known health and environmental impacts of mercury and its use in gold recovery, it remains widely used in ASGM due to its ease of use, fast returns and accessibility of mercury through informal trade networks. ASGM supports at least 20 million livelihoods, including >3 million women and children accounting for an estimated 15-30% of global gold production (UNEP, 2013) and 80% of all ASM activity for metals (excluding diamonds and gemstones). The artisanal mining of gold provides a significant source of income for rural communities compared to agriculture, fishing or forestry, (Siegel & Veiga, 2009), but has been traditionally been viewed in a problem vs. a legitimate livelihood opportunity.

Consequently, ASGM has received a smaller proportion of development aid relative to its contribution towards poverty alleviation in Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. In recent decades, academic institutes, the United Nations, and development agencies promote advancement of ASGM as a rural livelihood strategy, with a growing body of literature and continued development of best practices to minimize adverse social and environmental impacts. Despite recent progress, complex challenges remain for scientists, practitioners, policy makers, bi-lateral and multi-lateral cooperation to support miners in the reduction and eventual elimination of mercury use in ASGM at global, regional and local scales.