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Alliance for Responsible Mining and Mercury Free Mining Field Test Innovative Artisanal Gold Processing System

Successful effort funded by grant from GIA.

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Miners gathered in San Antonio, Zaragoza District, Colombia in April 2023 to process ores with GOLDROP. PHOTO:  Courtesy of MFM
Miners gathered in San Antonio, Zaragoza District, Colombia in April 2023 to process ores with GOLDROP. PHOTO:  Courtesy of MFM

(PRESS RELEASE) CARLSBAD, CA — The recent successful field-test of an innovative system for mercury-free processing of gold ore is a significant advancement in the important effort to safeguard the health and safety and improve economic outcomes for artisanal, small-scale gold miners (ASGM) and their communities.

The field tests, conducted with approximately 60 miners in three communities in Colombia’s Chocó and Antioquia departments in mid-April 2023, followed several years of planning and technical analysis by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and Mercury Free Mining (MFM), supported by a grant from GIA, the Gemological Institute of America. MFM selected GOLDROP, which uses an innovative yet simple water-flow system to separate gold from other minerals, as the most promising option after reviewing the results from six promising processing technologies.

Juan Camilo Megía Mosquera, Unión Panamericana gold miner, one of the field-test participants.

Juan Camilo Megía Mosquera, Unión Panamericana gold miner, one of the field-test participants. PHOTO:  Courtesy of MFM

“The miners we collaborated with were genuinely excited about the GOLDROP system, foreseeing improvements in their gold recovery rates and a reduction in their reliance on mercury,” said Toby Pomeroy, executive director of Mercury Free Mining. “Initial results using the GOLDROP system are very promising with fine gold recovery as well as mercury from whole-ore amalgamated concentrates; further analysis will quantify specific data proving GOLDROP’s effectiveness over various mining locales and ore types.”

The GOLDROP system, developed by John Richmond of Sluice Goose Industries and demonstrated at the 2023 AGTA GemFair, is a portable, easy-to-use, cost-effective device that, according to laboratory findings, can capture more fine gold than traditional processing methods, including those using mercury. “I can see that GOLDROP produces some of the highest fine gold recovery I have ever seen,” said Juan Camilo Megía Mosquera, Unión Panamericana gold miner, one of the field-test participants.

“The encouraging results of this test are a testament to the value of innovation and commitment,” said GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques. “This great success helps protect ASGM communities and addresses the growing consumer demand for greater sustainability in the gem and jewelry supply chain.”

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The next step, targeted for completion in 2023, is a pilot project to analyze the GOLDROP system’s efficiency across three or four mining communities in Peru and Colombia.

About GIA

An independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight and, in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System which is recognized around the world as the standard for diamond quality.

Through research, education, gemological laboratory services and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science and professionalism. Visit GIA.edu.

About Mercury Free Mining

Mercury Free Mining’s mission is to eradicate the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), ensuring public trust in the jewelry industry’s gold supply chain. Learn more at Mercuryfreemining.org.

About Alliance for Responsible Mining

The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) was established in 2004 and is a leading global expert on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). We work to transform the ASM sector into a socially and environmentally responsible activity while improving the quality of life of artisanal miners, their families and communities. Learn more at Responsiblemines.org.

About the GOLDROP

John Richmond, the inventor of GOLDROP, wanted to change the lives of millions around the world, as well as make it easier for Prospectors to make a living. The GOLDROP is designed to be portable, durable and easy to use. After a quick classification process, the concentrate is simply dumped into the top of the GOLDROP. Within seconds over 99.8% of the gold is filtered and deposited into a canister at the base of the GOLDROP. The GOLDROP was patented on September 4, 2018 and became available for purchase in February 2020.

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