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Zimbabwe Moves To Control Mercury Use In Mining Operations


Parliament has moved to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, with legislators taking turns to condemn the use of the highly toxic element in gold extraction because of the serious environmental and health dangers it poses. Zimbabwe signed the convention in October 2013, but needed to ratify it through a parliamentary process to become a full party and be bound by its obligations. Major highlights of the convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase out of existing ones, the phase out and cut down in mercury use in a number of products and processes, control measures on emissions into air and on releases to land and water, and the regulation of the informal sector comprising the artisanal and small-scale gold miners.