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What Can Be Done About Mercury?

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About this session

This session will be held under the Chatham House Rule, meaning that the content of the conversation can be shared, but not the identity of the speakers. This is to protect speakers from the risks involved in sharing their knowledge about mercury use in mining publicly.

By choosing to attend this event, you are agreeing to comply with the requirements of the Chatham House Rule.

For more information on what your agreement involves, please visit

Photojournalist Eugene Smith, subject of a new feature film ‘Minamata’ (launching in Feb. 2021 in the US), is credited with waking up the globe to the horrors of mercury poisoning with his photo essay published in 1975. Smith’s photographs show the severe mercury poisoning of people in Minamata, Japan, the tragedy that created a global response to mercury issues. While the films Minamata, River of Gold, MAXIMA, and Shadow of Gold may increase awareness of mercury among the general public, the jewelry industry has known for years that mercury is part of the story of jewelry... even though we don’t want it to be! This panel of experts will address some of your big questions. Why are mercury and gold so intimately connected? Why is mercury such a difficult habit to kick? What factors continue to drive the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining? Is mercury part of large scale gold mining too? What mechanisms are evolving to combat mercury use globally? What can you do?

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