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Guyana pledges to reduce mercury use in mining

November 29, 2013

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s mining minister says the South American country is taking steps to phase out the use of mercury in gold mining.

Robert Persaud said Friday that the government plans to provide loans to help small-scale miners buy equipment that does not rely on mercury. He said government officials also have signed several new conventions pledging to eliminate the use of mercury within a decade.

International bodies including the United Nations have long criticized Guyana for not overseeing the use of mercury and allowing the substance to pollute the environment.

Gold is Guyana’s leading export, and local miners are expected to produce some 465,000 ounces (13 million grams) this year.

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