The Centre for Trade Policy and Development -CTPD- has called on government to craft legislation that prohibits the use of mercury in artisanal and small scale gold mining operations.
Research findings have revealed that due to lack of employment in the formal sector, the number of small gold miners is on the rise resulting in an increased use of mercury for processing of gold and thereby contaminating rivers and streams where the mercury ends.
CTPD Senior Researcher-Extractives Webby Banda says in an effort to safeguard the environment and the health of miners, there is also need to sensitize and train artisanal and small -scale gold mining operators on efficient and environmentally caring techniques of recovering gold.
Mr. Banda is urging government to promote safe environments in the exploitation process of the gold resource saying this is the only way limiting, preventing or reducing the exposure of gold miners and the community at large to mercury will be achieved.
Gold processing using mercury involves the use of heat which discharges toxic mercury vapors and can be dangerous to human health as mercury attacks the central nervous system, destroys kidneys, and leads to auto-immune impairment and respiratory distress.