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Use of Mercury in Small-scale Gold Mining

Small-scale gold mining with mercury has been used for centuries to liberate gold from its native surroundings. Direct amalgamation and subsequent distillation of the mercury is the technique typically used to obtain gold. Gold mining by using mercury as an extraction agent continues in underdeveloped countries. The effect on the local environment is discussed briefly. Actual methods of gold extraction from the ore are explained in simple terms. Environmental degradation caused by miners is given, i.e. excess mercury escaping into the watershed from mining activities and mercury boiled into the air during refining, where it may travel long distances.

Print publication date: 15 Oct 2013
Copyright year: 2013
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-409-7
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-515-5