Mercury Pollution from Artisanal Gold Mining in Block B, El Callao, Bolívar State, Venezuela
The technical and health aspects of the gold mining activity conducted by artisanal and small-scale miners in the Block B, El Callao, Bolívar State, Venezuela, were evaluated. The area, with 1731 inhabitants, is a legal mining concession of CVG-Minerven rented to small-scale mining individuals/companies. Miners extract the ore from 30-80 m deep shafts using explosives and transport it in small trucks to the Processing Centers (locally known as “molinos”) to be crushed, ground, concentrated and amalgamated. There are 28 active Processing Centers in the Block B area producing about 1 to 2 tonnes Au/a. By using copperamalgamating plates to amalgamate the whole ground ore, a large amount of mercury is lost with the tailings.
07 May 2010