The Third Meeting organized by the Inter-Institutional Working Group on Responsible Gold in Bolivia (GTI-OR), held recently on May 16, closes a cycle of three workshops called 'Exchange of Information and Reflections on Relevant Aspects for Responsible Gold Mining. Oscar Loayza, Deputy Director of the Madidi-Tambopata Conservation Program of WCS and current director of the GTI-OR group, highlighted the importance of the work of this group, made up of 12 academic institutions and civil society, in the promotion of research, generation of information and reflection around the issue of responsible gold mining; leading to this group becoming a recognized reference in the subject.
The event had the important participation of representatives of the National Program of Persistent Organic Pollutants (PRONACOPS) of the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Ministry of Mining and Metallurgy, the National Service of Protected Areas (SERNAP), the Departmental Government of La Paz, as well as the mining federations FECOMAN, FERRECO and FEDECOMIN and other local stakeholders. PRONACOPS presented the advances and challenges for the country in fulfilling the commitments assumed under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, ratified by Bolivia through Law N ° 759, and the results of the mercury emissions inventory carried out in 2014. For its part, the Institute of Metallurgy of the San Andrés University and MEDMIN Foundation, both members of the GTI-OR, addressed the results of studies and alternatives for responsible management of mercury to avoid discharges of this toxic metal to the environment. They presented the existing techniques for the recovery of alluvial gold through the use of appropriate technologies and experiences with their implementation.
In terms of concrete experiences in applying good mining practices, the San Lucas gold mining cooperative explained their work and the benefits obtained in the process of technological transition towards the responsible use of mercury in an open circuit. It is also important to mention that WCS is supporting three pilot experiences of mining cooperatives in protected areas of northern La Paz, under these same principles.
In order to give continuity to the work of GIT-OR, two additional events will be held this year together with the gold mining federations of Bolivia, one with the political parties that will participate in the next national elections, to present their programs on mining and environment; and another gold symposium focused on responsible mining.