Mapping the Reality of Hg-Free Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining

Tatiane Marin, Jacopo Seccatore, Yingchao Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artisanal gold mining (AGM) is a very important topic, of which the environmental and social impact has been widely studied. However, there are few studies on operational efficiency, financial analysis, and the lack of mine planning. The purpose of this work was to investigate whether AGM operation without mercury is sustainable. The following parameters were analyzed in the case study: the general situation, interaction with the company that owns the area, production, drilling and blasting, loading and transport, freight to the centralized plant, workforce, materials and supplies, geological control planning and the relationship with the processing plant. Even without the mercury variable, AGM was found to be unsustainable. The lack of planning and operational inefficiency did not allow for continuous operation. The results of this research provide guidance on the future steps the current government and society should take to achieve sustainable AGM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13207
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Hg-free
  • artisanal small-scale gold mining
  • mining sustainability


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