206 Delegates Attend the planetGOLD ASGM Global Annual Forum in the Philippines

Wellington Takavarasha

The 5th planetGOLD annual conference wrapped up on the 7th of June in Talisay, Batangas, Philippines, drawing 206 delegates from 23 countries, including Zimbabwe.

By Wellington Takavarasha

The event, held from June 3rd to 6th, 2024, focused on advancing safer and cleaner techniques in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) by replacing mercury use.

Zimbabwe, not yet a formal member of planetGOLD, was represented by a four-member delegation led by Mr. M. Munodawafa, the Chief Government Mining Engineer. Other delegates included A. Chikurira from the Environment Ministry, W. Takavarasha from the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), and T. Mapooze from the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA).

The planetGOLD program, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), aims to promote mercury-free mining practices.

The conference featured presentations on financial access, sector formalization, technical solutions to reduce mercury use, and awareness campaigns highlighting mercury’s toxicity. Zimbabwe’s presentation focused on financial access for artisanal miners and its impacts.

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Currently, only nine countries are formal members of planetGOLD. Zimbabwe’s participation at the conference was a step towards potentially joining the initiative and securing US$5 million in funding from GEF to support mercury reduction and improve mining practices.

Having ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2021, Zimbabwe is actively working on its Minamata Initial Assessment (MIA) and drafting its National Action Plan (NAP) in coordination with relevant ministries and the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF).

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