About the Global Mercury project

The Global Mercury Project (GMP) was implemented from 2002-2007. The overall goal of the project was to demonstrate ways of overcoming barriers to the adoption of best practices and pollution prevention measures that limit the mercury contamination of international waters from artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASM).

Six countries participated in the GMP: Brazil, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The GMP introduced cleaner technologies, trained miners, developed regulatory mechanisms and capacities within Government, conducted environmental and health assessments (E&HA) and built capacity within participating countries so that they could continue monitoring Hg pollution after the completion of project.

The goals of the project were:

  • reduce mercury pollution of international waters by emissions emanating from small-scale gold mining;
  • introduce cleaner technologies for gold extraction and train people in their application, develop capacity and regulatory mechanisms that will enable the sector to minimize mercury pollution;
  • introduce environmental and health monitoring programmes;
  • build capacity of local laboratories to assess the extent and impact of mercury pollution.

Long-term objective:

To protect international waters from mercury pollution emanating from small-scale mining operations. The main tools for reducing the pollution consisted in assessing the extent of mercury pollution from current activities, introducing cleaner gold mining and extraction technology that minimize or eliminate mercury releases and develop capacity and regulatory mechanisms that will enable the sector to minimize negative environmental impacts.