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Does the technology mercury retort have a potential to be adopted by artisanal gold miners in Chontales, Nicaragua?
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Ecotechnology and Sustainable Building Engineering.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Emissions of mercury is a global problem and the sector artisanal and small scale gold mining is the major mercury emission source. This study has been made within the artisanal gold mining in Santo Domingo, Nicaragua. The focus has been on the burning process in the artisanal gold extraction. The recommendation from United Nation Environmental Program, to introduce mercury capturing devices to reduce the emissions, has been evaluated. The mercury retort enclose the mercury vapours and the vapours condensate and the mercury can be reused. It is a low-tech device that fits the existing conditions in Chontales. This study has been assessing the potential to make the artisanal gold mining less polluting and damaging to health and evaluating the willingness of the artisanal gold miners in Chontales, Nicaragua to adopt the technology mercury retort. Seven artisanal gold miners were interviewed and mercury retorts were shown to the gold miners who were not familiar with the technique.The information gained from the interviews suggest that the poorest artisanal gold miners know about the risks with mercury but did not know about the technique mercury retort, but they were willing to learn and had a positive approach to start using it to save mercury and money. Mercury retorts could be built in Nicaragua for a cost of 7 US$. It is cheap to build a mercury retort in Nicaragua and the device prevents the vapours to enter the atmosphere. The factor that is limiting the adoption of mercury retorts is the lack of information and knowledge within the communities.More information should be given to the artisanal gold miners if more people should start using mercury retorts. Mercury should be phased out from artisanal gold mining, but until it is done, mercury retort could be a way to reduce the 727 tons of mercury which each year enters the atmosphere thru burning of gold amalgam worldwide.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 41 p.
Keyword [en]
mercury retort, artisanal gold mining, nicaragua, mercury, gold amalgam
National Category
Engineering and Technology Environmental Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-23206OAI: diva2:754777
Subject / course
Environmental Engineering MM1
Educational program
Eco Engineering TEKOG 180 Higher Education Credits
2014-06-04, Östersund, 14:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-10-19 Created: 2014-10-12 Last updated: 2014-10-19Bibliographically approved

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Grinell, Linda
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