Sourcing

Mercury-Free Mining Might Have Found a Solution

SourcingJan 13, 2020

Mercury-Free Mining Might Have Found a Solution

Founder Toby Pomeroy is in Ghana right now testing a technology called Goldrop with artisanal miners.

Artisanal gold miners at work in Ivory Coast (Photo credit: Reuters, licensed to Mercury-Free Mining). The founder of Mercury-Free Mining, Toby Pomeroy, is in Ghana to witness testing of a solution to the use of mercury in small-scale gold mining worldwide.

Corvallis, Oregon—The founder of the Mercury-Free Mining initiative is in West Africa to test a separation process that could fulfill his organization’s ultimate goal—to eliminate the need to use mercury in artisanal gold mining.

Oregon-based jewelry designer Toby Pomeroy, founder of MFM, left the United States for Ghana on Jan. 8 to begin 10 days of field-testing a technology called Goldrop.

Invented by John Richmond of Sluice Goose Industries and patented in the U.S. in 2018, the technology uses the elutriation process to separate gold, including all heavy elements and minerals, from mineral concentrate and tailings, Pomeroy explained to National Jeweler via email from Ghana.

Elutriation is a process of precipitating out particles by means of an upward current of fluid, often water or air.

The testing will take place in three artisanal mining communities in Ashanti, a region of in southern Ghana known for its gold production.

In a video, Pomeroy described the technology as low-cost, simple, portable and highly efficient.

RELATED CONTENT: What is the Mercury-Free Mining Challenge?
Launched by Pomeroy in 2017, the initial goal of Mercury-Free Mining (originally called the Mercury-Free Mining Challenge) was to get the jewelry industry to put up a $1 million prize for the creation of a safe, scalable and effective alternative to the use of mercury in mining by artisanal gold miners.

Artisanal miners produce 20 percent of the world’s annual gold supply, and almost all of them use the element to separate the gold they find from other materials. They burn off the mercury by heating it, sending toxic particles into the air that are harmful to people and the environment.

In a 2018 interview with National Jeweler, Pomeroy compared his challenge to the Ansari X Prize and the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge, which were launched to innovate in the fields of space travel and oil spill cleanups, respectively.

Now, Mercury-Free Mining has not actually raised the $1 million at this point.

But Pomeroy said when Richmond invited the organization to oversee demonstrations and testing of Goldrop requested by the Ghana National Artisanal Small-Scale Miners Association, he felt he could not turn down the invitation.

“His invitation was right on the heels of our realization that MFM needed to help raise awareness of the problem and to, ideally, provide the jewelry industry and the world with an on-the-ground, real-life connection to the people who struggle to
make a living mining for gold and whose only means of being marginally efficient is by using mercury,” he said.

“John’s invitation came at a perfect moment for MFM to help highlight this critical issue and to educate people on the need for a mercury alternative to be discovered.”

Pomeroy said he wants the jewelry industry to directly participate in and support the discovery of an alternative to mercury in artisanal mining.

“We are committed that jewelers can have an inspiring answer to the question, ‘Where is your gold from, and was it responsibly mined?’”

Mercury-Free Mining has launched a fundraising campaign to help raise $25,000 to complete the testing and documentation in Ghana.


Donations can be made through the donations page on the MFM website.

Pomeroy is sharing results from the Goldrop test run on the MFM website’s blog and on social media, including its Facebook and Instagram pages.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

TrendsAug 05, 2022
Piece of the Week: Storrow Jewelry’s ‘Emblem Rosa’ Charm

The brand has attracted attention for its colorful, vintage-inspired pieces.

MajorsAug 05, 2022
Former Nike Executive Joins Team at David Yurman

Marcelo Tau is the company’s new chief operations officer.

Policies & IssuesAug 05, 2022
Satta Matturi Joins RJC Board

The jewelry designer founded her eponymous brand in 2015 after nearly two decades in the diamond industry.

Brought to you by
The American Mined™ Collection: Ethical Sourcing That Matters

Rio Grande provides a pathway to responsibly sourced gemstones.

Supplier BulletinAug 04, 2022
Unusual Jewelry Finds Eager Buyers In Online Auctions

Sponsored by HiBid

Weekly QuizAug 04, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
WatchesAug 04, 2022
4 Takeaways from Chrono24’s Analysis of the Luxury Watch Market

The watch seller comments on future demand, how the crypto crash impacted Rolex and Patek Philippe pricing, the supply recovery, and more.

CollectionsAug 04, 2022
The Rest of De Beers’ 2022 High Jewelry Collection Is Here

It features fives sets of jewelry.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

Lab-GrownAug 04, 2022
Lab-Grown Diamond Co. Plasmability Partners with HRA Group

Through the collaboration, HRA will exclusively cut, polish, and distribute Plasmability’s lab-grown diamonds in the market.

IndependentsAug 04, 2022
TJA to Offer ‘Texas Tours’ at Upcoming Round-Up Event

They include a tour of a museum’s gem collection and demonstrations of diamond cutting and polishing.

TechnologyAug 03, 2022
Tiffany Introduces CryptoPunk NFT Pendants

The limited-edition pendants, available in digital and physical form, retail for $50,000 and are exclusive to holders of CryptoPunks NFTs.

AuctionsAug 03, 2022
Elvis and Colonel Tom Parker’s ‘Lost’ Jewelry Coming to Auction

The sale includes pieces “The King” gifted to his longtime manager, as well as jewelry Elvis owned and wore on stage.

WatchesAug 03, 2022
Breitling’s Latest Ambassador Is an NFL Star

Trevor Lawrence is the quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

IndependentsAug 03, 2022
Day’s Jewelers Announces New VP of Merchandising

Julie Collins succeeds Kathy Corey in the role.

ColumnistsAug 02, 2022
Why Passing on Lab-Grown Diamonds Might Be a Risky Bet

Retailers would be wise to embrace this growing segment of the market instead of shunning it, Peter Smith writes.

SourcingAug 02, 2022
AGTA Names John Ford as Its New CEO

He’s the owner of The Lightning Ridge Collection but will pivot to focus on his new role.

TrendsAug 02, 2022
Marvel Debuts Gem-Set Infinity Gauntlet

East Continental Gems provided more than 150 carats of gemstones for the project.

SurveysAug 02, 2022
Consumer Confidence Falls for Third Month in July

Rising prices and interest rate hikes are expected to weigh on consumer spending and economic growth over the next six months.

TrendsAug 01, 2022
Amanda’s Style File: Peridot That Pops

To kick off August, Amanda Gizzi is sharing jewelry featuring the month’s OG birthstone.

CrimeAug 01, 2022
Joseph DuMouchelle Sentenced to 12 Years Behind Bars in $12M Fraud

The Michigan auctioneer and appraiser also has to pay restitution totaling $25 million for other victims of his fraud scheme.

MajorsAug 01, 2022
GIA Appoints First Vice President of Sustainability Programs

Johanna Levy will oversee the environmental, social, and governance programs.

EditorsJul 29, 2022
The Jewelry Industry Remembers Castro: A Complicated, Magical Designer

Before his sudden death last week, the designer had reached new creative heights.

SourcingJul 29, 2022
De Beers Sales Rise 23% YOY in July

Despite unusually high summertime sales, the company’s CEO said the industry remains “watchful.”

MajorsJul 29, 2022
Jewelers of America Elects 4 New Directors to Board

Joseph Corey, Krystle Craycraft, Sue Hopeman, and Sherry Smith will each serve three-year terms on the board.

TrendsJul 29, 2022
Piece of the Week: Zahn-Z Jewelry’s ‘Gem Pop’ Ring

A lab-grown ruby makes the perfect nostalgic treat.

Supplier BulletinJul 28, 2022
Local Jewelry Dealers Use Online Auctions To Find Bidders Worldwide

Sponsored by HiBid

FinancialsJul 28, 2022
Boucheron, Pomellato Deliver ‘Very Solid’ Performances for Kering

Revenue for the group that includes Kering’s jewelry brands grew 32 percent in the first half of 2022.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy