The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has made a donation to two organisations championing the adoption of mercury-free gold mining practices.

Mercury Free Mining (MFM) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) have been awarded a $50,000 (£36,000) grant by GIA.

It is intended to encourage the mitigation of mercury use in artisanal gold mining in Ananea, Peru.

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The grant provides funding to evaluate ore-testing processes that have the potential to significantly reduce or eliminate the inadvertent release of 5,440 kg of toxic mercury every day by more than 15 million artisanal and small-scale gold miners (ASGM) around the world.

Toby Pomeroy, MFM executive director, commented: “We’re delighted that this GIA grant supports the discovery and implementation of efficient gold ore concentration methods that may help free millions of subsistence gold miners from their dependence on the marginal increases in efficiency that mercury provides.

“It’s exciting to be working for the wellbeing of miners and the earth in partnership with these impactful organisations.”

In addition, the GIA grant will support improved livelihoods for the miners by helping to advance the establishment of transparent supply chains that will make available certified, traceable, mercury-free gold for export.

“Consumers care deeply about sustainability and responsible sourcing and want to see evidence that the industry supports and embraces positive initiatives across the supply chain,” said Susan Jacques, GIA president and CEO.

”The vital work supported by this grant is an important part of GIA’s consumer protection mission and our continuing effort to advance sustainability and responsible sourcing by bringing the benefits of the global trade closer to artisanal mining communities.”