Ban on new mercury mines announced

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Hon. Sydney C. Allicock – Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs

Indigenous People’s Affairs Minister, Sydney Allicock on Friday expressed that there is need

for more education to be provided to mining stakeholders on land reclamation and protecting the environment.

He made the call at the opening of the Minamata Convention at the Natural Resources Ministry where he pointed to the damage mining does to the environment and made it clear that education must be provided to all and sundry.

“We go and we say we’re going into the bush and we treat it as such, forgetting that it is a homeland to a people. So we go, dig the place and leave it without doing the necessary clean up.”

“This calls for a lot of education, if we’re going to save the environment, which means not only for the miners but those persons who are living there, so they have a better understanding of the activity that is happening… because if you don’t know you don’t know.”

According to Allicock, education will be critical for eradicating mercury contamination. He said while there is a mining policy, the information has to get out to those who need it the most.

Another suggestion made by Allicock was to allocate areas to miners known for sticking to best practise. He also suggested that Government work closely with communities who have been affected by mercury.

The convention was organised in keeping with the Minamata Convention on Mercury… a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.

Major highlights of the Convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phasing out of existing ones, the phasing out and phasing down of mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water, and regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

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