UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Gravity Concentration in Artisanal Gold Mining Veiga, Marcello M. (Marcello Mariz); Gunson, Aaron James


Worldwide there are over 43 million artisanal miners in virtually all developing countries extracting at least 30 different minerals. Gold, due to its increasing value, is the main mineral extracted by at least half of these miners. The large majority use amalgamation either as the final process to extract gold from gravity concentrates or from the whole ore. This latter method has been causing large losses of mercury to the environment and the most relevant world’s mercury pollution. For years, international agencies and researchers have been promoting gravity concentration methods as a way to eventually avoid the use of mercury or to reduce the mass of material to be amalgamated. This article reviews typical gravity concentration methods used by artisanal miners in developing countries, based on numerous field trips of the authors to more than 35 countries where artisanal gold mining is common.

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