This 5th and 6th March, the Third Gold Symposium took place and was organized by the Inter-Institutional Working Group on Responsible Gold (GIT-OR), made up of 12 civil society and academic institutions, and currently coordinated by WCS. Its objective was to promote exchange, dialogue and reflection on the importance of an increasingly responsible technical, social and environmental gold mining in the country. About 320 people from various sectors participated: national and sub-national authorities, mining federations and cooperatives, civil society institutions, academic entities, as well as international cooperation and embassies.
The event was inaugurated by the Minister of Mining, Carlos Huallpa Sunagua, the Ambassadors of Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the coordinator of the GIT-OR (Oscar Loayza, WCS) and the representatives of the miners' federations: Regional Federation of Gold Mining Cooperatives (FERRECO), Federation of Gold Mining Cooperatives of Northern La Paz (FECOMAN) and the Departmental Federation of Mining Cooperatives of La Paz (FEDECOMIN).
The plenary event included the participation of international specialists such as Pura Alfonso from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Spain), Chris Goodwin from the Whatchman Company (United Kingdom); Shun-Ping Chau from the Environmental Protection Agency (United States), Rocío Fernández from UNIDO, Vicente Encalada from Grupo Bonanza (Ecuador), Juan Ayala from CETEMIN and Jaime Molleapaza of the Oro Puno Company (Peru) and José Ruiz as International Consultant (Colombia). Among the national specialists, representatives of many institutions stood out in their participation such as SENARECOM, WCS, FERRECO, Mining Cooperatives such as Águilas de Oro, Jesús del Gran Poder and San Lucas, ACEAA, Cumbre del Sajama (an environmental consultant company) and MEDMIN.
Topics covered included mining royalties, the use of mercury and its impacts on health and the environment, mitigation of risks in mining production, technological innovation for health and safety, technologies to improve gold recovery, conflict resolution in mining, mining certification experiences, women's participation in mining and labor issues, among others.
Oscar Loayza, Deputy Director of the WCS Madidi Great Landscape Conservation Program and Coordinator of the GIT-OR, presented in plenary the topic of Gold Mining and Biodiversity Conservation, highlighting the presence and intensity of mining operations and their impact on conservation values in the Madidi-Pilón Lajas-Apolobamba-Cotapata corridor, within the framework of the project supported by CEPF. Participation in panels allowed to approach the mining theme in four thematic pillars: economic, environmental, technological and social-occupational. Lilian Painter, Director of WCS Bolivia, presented on the Mitigation Hierarchy applied to mining, providing recommendations to avoid, minimize, restore and compensate for the damage caused to biodiversity.