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Commodities

Company links up with small scale gold miners to cut use of mercury

Consultancy firm EcoCentric is lifting the uptake of communal mercury-free mining
Consultancy firm EcoCentric is lifting the uptake of communal mercury-free mining. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Consultancy firm EcoCentric is lifting the uptake of communal mercury-free mining, enhancing Kenya's chances of accessing Sh4.7 billion ($45 million) kitty for safe practices in the extraction sector.

The firm, now in its eighth year in Kenya, is deepening partnerships with small scale miners across counties such as Migori.

This has led to many shifting from the harmful mercury-assisted wash plant processes to safe extractions such as use of gravity concentration, setting them up for support from investors.

EcoCentric director Edward Ndirangu said the safe extraction methods are gaining traction among miners as it scales to Kakamega, Vihiga, Narok and West Pokot counties.

"EcoCentric will continue to provide support during this growth phase to ensure a shift to mercury-free gold production systems and increasing yield for miners," said Mr Ndirangu.

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Kenya, in October 2013 became a signatory to the Minamata Convention that discourages use of mercury in mining, a practice that is common with artisanal and small-scale miners.

The country has, however, been dragging its feet on developing a legal framework to encourage uptake of mercury-free mining.

Signatory countries to the Minamata Convention, became eligible to draw from the $45 million Global Environmental Facility (GEF) grant funding for mercury free policy-development.

Migori County Artisanal Miners Cooperative Society is among the groups of small scale miners which have been formally licensed and now working with EcoCentric on mercury-free mining.

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