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GIA Funds Second Round of Groundbreaking Research for Miners

New grant awarded to the Alliance for Responsible Mining & Mercury Free Mining for Goldrop program.




Miners in the Cañamomo y Lomaprieta region, home to Colombia's oldest Indigenous Reserve and possible site for Goldrop® testing. Photo compliments of Diana Lider Canamomo y Lomaprieta
Miners in the Cañamomo y Lomaprieta region, home to Colombia’s oldest Indigenous Reserve and possible site for Goldrop® testing. Photo compliments of Diana Lider Canamomo y Lomaprieta

(PRESS RELEASE) CARLSBAD, CA – The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has awarded a $93,000 grant to deploy the Goldrop, an innovative technology that eliminates the need for mercury use by artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), in three Colombian ASM communities. The program, a joint effort between the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), and Mercury Free Mining (MFM) and is expected to significantly improve ASM miners’ work conditions and reduce health risks and pollution. It also significantly advances both organizations’ missions to develop a more sustainable gold mining industry.

This is the second grant awarded by GIA to further Goldrop testing and analysis; the first was used to conduct initial field tests of 5 innovative gold ore concentrators with ore samples from two Peruvian mines, CECOMIP, and Cruz Pata. Goldrop was the most efficient of the five tested by several dozen miners in Colombia’s Chocó and Antioquia regions in the spring of 2023. Further details of the first phase of the project can be found here.

Toby Pomeroy, Mercury Free Mining’s executive director, said of GIAs renewed support of the Goldrop, “We are immensely grateful for GIA’s continued trust and partnership. Their funds have been instrumental in our ability to reach critical milestones – and we are keen to make even greater strides during this next phase of the project. The roughly 15 million artisanal gold miners who are being poisoned by direct contact with toxic mercury every day need us to continue this work.”

ARM’s executive director, Gina D’Amato, adds, “GIA’s latest grant award demonstrates their true commitment to working together towards the positive transformation of ASM communities and the eradication of mercury use. The project will allow us to understand challenges around new technologies adopted by ASM Communities.

Over a planned six-month period, teams will introduce the innovative Goldrop technology, provide training, perform assessments, and collect feedback from the participating miners. This multi-phase approach will also include the development of training materials and a comprehensive communication plan to raise public awareness about the impacts of mercury on human health and the environment throughout the three pilot communities.

“Innovations like the Goldrop are what ASM communities need to help keep deadly mercury out of their soil and water supplies. GIA is committed to supporting the work of organizations like MFM and ARM who are on the leading edge of mercury-free gold recovery – and who are focused on enriching the communities that produce this valued resource,” noted Johanna Levy, vice president of environmental, social, and governance programs at GIA.


The grant will cover the total expenses for all three phases of the Colombia Goldrop program including field and office personnel, travel, supplies, translation and laboratory services, equipment, and more. Once the program is complete, the teams will provide continuous technical support to the participating communities as well as draft a final report that includes project results, lessons learned, and recommendations for scaling the program. MFM and ARM will also jointly produce research papers and other educational materials for public consumption.


  • 20% of total gold supply comes from artisanal gold mining – which equals $25B each year.
  • 15 million miners must handle mercury daily in order to make a living.
  • 37% of all mercury pollution worldwide comes from artisanal gold mines.
  • 12,000 pounds of mercury are inadvertently released by miners every day.

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. Follow GIA@gianews.


Established in 2017, Mercury Free Mining is a nonprofit organization committed to the eradication of mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), ensuring the public trust in the jewelry industry’s gold supply chain, and improving the lives of the 100 million people who depend on artisanal gold mining. Follow MFM on Instagram.


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. Follow ARM on LinkedIn.







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