Problem

Environmental impacts of gold mining

Nature:
Gold mining releases more mercury than all mercury mining and disposal combined.
Background:
Asia is number one in the world in per-capita consumption of gold and platinum.
Incidence:
Illegal gold-mining camps in Ghana provide impoverished locals with a means to earn some much-needed cash -- but at a high environmental price. The mercury that small-scale miners use to purify gold not only threatens the miners' own health but also the health of whole communities, as mercury concentrations build up in waterways and fish.
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
14.04.2004 – 00:00 CEST