2020 State of the ASM Sector Report Learn about artisanal and small-scale mining's contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 8 in our new report

Improving National Estimates of Mercury Use in ASGM

Excerpt from the 2020 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector

Focus Area: Make Production Sustainable and Eliminate Mercury

Case Study: Improving National Estimates of Mercury Use in ASGM

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is increasingly recognized as an opportunity to alleviate poverty, provide rural employment where little alternative exists, and contribute to local, national, and regional development. Nevertheless, mercury use in ASGM operations poses a threat to human health and the environment. Despite the impacts of mercury, data on its use and releases in ASGM as well estimates on the number of miners engaged is scarce in many parts of the world. ASGM is often informal, operates in remote areas, and can be seasonal or temporary, contributing to the high uncertainties in estimating mercury use. Mercury use estimates are critical to targeting assistance to miners and form a baseline against which the progress in mercury reduction can be measured. The UNEP Global Mercury Assessment 2018 (UNEP 2019a) includes estimates of mercury use in ASGM by country (Figure 9). However, for many countries data is scare, old, or simply lacking, meaning that margins of error are high.

Additional Info

Kenneth Davis, Malgorzata Stylo, K Davis, M Stylo, L Bernaudat
Publication Year
Associated Partners
United Nations Environment Programme
Publishing Institution Webpage
Data Source Classification
Global Report
Research Type
Research Methodology
Thematic Tags
Political, Formalization, Governance, Economic, Market Linkages, Social, Community, Employment, Livelihoods, Technological, Processing, Environmental, Cyanide, Degradation, Mercury, Pollution, Reclamation, Waste Management, Water, 2020 State of Sector
Last Updated
July 1, 2021