Philippines

Children in the Philippines are damaging their health while mining for gold

399px-thumbnailThere are currently 115 million children with ages from five to 17 years old who work in hazardous occupations worldwide, the United Nations International Labor Organization estimates. Among them, about a million children work in the mining industry. Hundreds of maybe even thousands of them live in the Philippines.

Recently, the Center for Investigative Reporting, in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, published an article about this scourge through the site Philly.com. The piece started by telling the story of a young miner:

Romnick Bocejo picked up his blowtorch and blasted a small lump of mercury and gold. A cloud of toxic fumes rose around his head as the heat vaporized the mercury. He covered his mouth and nose with his T-shirt, and kept working.

At 16, Bocejo has worked half his life in the meager family business: looking for gold in the remote mining region of Camarines Norte, about 200 miles southeast of Manila.

One of his jobs is to burn the mercury, and on this occasion, he produced a button-size lump of nearly pure gold. He is uncertain whether to believe the smoke is dangerous.

….Read more

Philippines launches project against the dangerous use of mercury in small-scalle mining

mining-gold-phillipines-f2The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) teamed up with the Philippine government to fight for the elimination of mercury use in artisanal and small-scale mining in the country. The project is entitled “Improve the Health and Environment of Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining [ASGM] Communities in the Philippines by Reducing Mercury Emission”.

The main goal is to establish a formal national institution and train key stakeholders – like miners – in orden to strengthen the national capacity to manage mercury. About this, the representative of Unido, Ludovic Bernaudat, said:

We fully support the Philippines’s efforts to address the issue of mercury use in small-scale mining. This project is a testament to the efforts being undertaken by the Philippines in taking a lead in solving this difficult and complex issue.

Representatives from every institution involved in the project participated in the project’s inception workshop, which ended on Thursday (August 29), in Pasig City. This was just the first step to create a national ASGM institution that will work to reduce and maybe eliminate the use of mercury in the small-scale mining sector.

mercury….Read more

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