Mercury is used globally to extract gold in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The mercury-free gravity-borax method for gold extraction was introduced in two mining communities using mercury in the provinces Kalinga and Camarines Norte. This article describes project activities and quantitative changes in mercury consumption and analyzes the implementation with diffusion of innovations theory. Activities included miner-to-miner training; seminars for health-care workers, school teachers, and children; and involvement of community leaders. Baseline (2011) and follow-up (2013) data were gathered on mining practices and knowledge about mer- cury toxicology. Most miners in Kalinga converted to the gravity-borax method, whereas only a few did so in Camarines Norte. Differences in the nature of the social systems impacted the success of the implementation, and involvement of the tribal organization facilitated the shift in Kalinga. In conclusion, the gravity-borax method is a doable alternative to mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining, but support from the civil society is needed.
Read the article here.