Worried by the public health implications of the use of mercury in the extraction of gold, and in other mining activities, the Zimbabwean government has banned the metal.
Mercury, also known as Quicksilver is a metallic substance used in the extraction of gold in the Southern African country.
It is however toxic to humans, as its wastes hang around in the environment, sometimes leading to mercury poisoning.
The ban on mercury will largely affect small scale miners in the country, who now produce half of Zimbabwe’s total production.
Zimbabwe has also set regulations to stop its release from industrial equipment, in a bid to limit humans’ exposure to it.
Mercury, when available in excessive amount is capable of the contamination of water and food.
Zimbabwe produces at least 27 tonnes of gold in a year, with productions dropping in recent years.
Illicit gold mining has been a scourge in the country with the 1961 Mines and Minerals Act giving anybody a mining licence as long as they are nationals and are capable.
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