UN Conference on Mercury Reduction
The second UN conference on Mercury Reduction (Minamata COP2) took place in Geneva (Switzerland) from November 19th to 23rd , 2018. The Centre of Expertise on Mining Governance has been involved through a panel on Global Mercury: Supply, Trade and Demand; during which:
- Peter Maxon (Concorde East/West sprl) presented his book on mercury legal trade in the world
- Bossissi Nkuba (CEGEMI) discussed the importation, illegal trade and use of mercury in Congolese gold mines
- Dr Arturo Gavilan (Mexican Government) presented the production and exportation of mercury in Mexico
- Kenneth Davis (UN Environment Program) presented the Minamata conventions norms and tools on mercury reduction
- Louis Marshal (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development/OECD) moderated the session
This contribution results from two projects on the mining and the environment: a research conducted by the CEGEMI with COWI and the World Bank, on mercury trade in Congolese artisanal gold mines, as well PhD research on mercury pollution in artisanal gold mining at the University of Antwerp (both by Bossissi Nkuba, supervised by Prof. Lieven Bervoets and Prof. Sara Geenen).
La deuxième Conférence des Nations Unies sur la Lutte contre le Mercure (Minamata COP2) a eu lieu à Génève (Suisse) du 19 au 23/11/2018. Le Centre d’Expertise en Gestion du Secteur Minier de l’Université Catholique de Bukavu (CEGEMI) y a participé par le panel sur le Global Mercury Supply, Trade and Demand ; où
- Peter Maxon (Concorde East/West sprl) a présenté son livre sur les dynamiques du commerce légal du mercure dans le monde
- Bossissi Nkuba (CEGEMI) a discuté de l’importation, du commerce illégal et utilisation du mercure dans les mines d’or artisanale du Congo
- Dr Arturo Gavilan (Gouvernement Mexicain) qui a discuté de la production et l’exportation du mercure par le Mexique
- Kenneth Davis (ONU environnement) a présenté sur les normes et outils de la convention de Minamata en termes de réduction de mercure
- Louis Marshal (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development/OCDE) a été le moderateur de la séance
Cette intervention s’inscrit dans le cadre des travaux du CEGEMI sur le secteur minier et l’environnement. Notamment des recherches menées par le CEGEMI en collaboration avec le COWI et la Banque Mondiale, sur le commerce du mercure dans le secteur minier de l’or au Congo, ainsi que des recherches doctorales sur la pollution au mercure dans le secteur minier artisanal de l’or à l’Université d’Anvers (les deux par Bossissi Nkuba, sous la supervision des Prof. Lieven Bervoets et Sara Geenen).
Réseau National des Femmes dans les Mines
The World Bank’s Promines project has created a Congolese network for women in and around mining sites (RENAFEM). The inaugural conference has taken place on September 16-18 in Bukavu and was hosted by CEGEMI. A conference report can be found here.
Delve. A global platform for ASM data
CEGEMI participated in the ASM Data Dialogue organized at Surrey Business School on 5 May 2017. The event was part of a World Bank and PACT-led initiative to set up a global database for data on artisanal and small-scale mining: DELVE. Sara Geenen gave a presentation about CEGEMI’s research in eastern DRC for an audience of policy makers, international organizations and NGOs, consultancy firms and academics. Learn more about the DELVE project here. Download the presentation about CEGEMI’s work here: ASM Data Dialogue.
Workshop on reducing mercury use
22-24 February 2017, Hotel Sultani, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo – Agence Congolaise de l’Environnement officially launched the Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA) and National Action Plan (NAP) projects with support from UNITAR (UN Institute for Training and Research) as executing agency and UN Environment as implementing agency.
Mercury is a global threat to human health and the environment. The Minamata Convention on Mercury was adopted on 10 October 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference held in Kumamoto, Japan, as a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. Artisanal and Small-scale Goldmining (ASGM) has been identified at international level as the primary source of anthropogenic mercury emissions and releases, and has been identified at the national level as the DRC’s priority area in mercury control. Although the DRC has not yet signed the Convention, the country has been taking meaningful steps towards the reduction of mercury emissions and releases through the participation in international meetings and through the launch of the MIA and NAP projects in the inception workshop.
The two-day inception workshop was designed to raise awareness among policy makers and the general public on the threats of mercury, and to mobilize the required infrastructure and support for national action. The workshop was officially opened by Mr. S.E. Athys Kabongo Kalonji, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, and Mr. Jean Claude Emene Elenga, Director of Agence Congolaise de l’Environnement. The Workshop was attended by representatives (fifty in total) from parliament, government, industry, artisanal gold miners, NGOs, and academia.
The overall objective of the MIA and the NAP is to support Sierra Leone with the Ratification and Early Implementation of the Minamata Convention. Under the MIA project, the DRC will identify priority sectors where mercury is sued and develop a national mercury profile. The NAP project creates an overview of the ASGM sector, including processing and refining methods and mercury use, and sets targets and objectives for the reduction of mercury in this sector.
Upon recommendation by UNITAR’s Chemicals and Waste Management programme, CEGEMI was invited to the workshop as the national expertise center on ASGM. Bossissi Nkuba, doctoral student at the University of Antwerp and researcher with CEGEMI, presented his the findings of his exploratory field research about mercury use in South Kivu’s ASGM sector – the first of its kind at national level. By detailing the processing and refining techniques (including mercury) used in South Kivu’s ASGM sector, and addressing the potential for improving processes and introducing alternatives to mercury, he instigated critical thinking and sparked debate among participants. Professor Kamala Kaghoma, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Economy at the Catholic University of Bukavu, equally made critical contributions to the debate, particularly with regards to economic and behavioural considerations in reducing mercury, as well as with regards to safeguarding the scientific rigour of the project.
With this workshop, the DRC has established a first fundament for the sound management of mercury. Throughout the develop of the MIA and NAP project, CEGEMI will continue to deliver its expertise for a well-informed approach to governing mercury and the country’s precious ASGM sector.
(Acknowledgements: thanks to Jorden De Haan for the report and pictures)