, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 361–369 | Cite as

Building Capacity in Small-Scale Mining Communities: Health, Ecosystem Sustainability, and the Global Mercury Project

  • Samuel J. SpiegelEmail author
  • Marcello M. Veiga


The Global Mercury Project (GMP) is an initiative of the United Nations in collaboration with numerous government and nongovernment organizations to promote knowledge and capacity building on the links between small-scale gold mining practices and health, ecosystem, and social factors, and to implement interventions that reduce mercury pollution and exposure caused by mining activities in developing countries. Knowledge regarding the use of mercury and the dynamics of complex environmental, health, socioeconomic, and cultural conditions in and surrounding small-scale mining sites is particularly needed for the purpose of developing appropriate community-based measures to reduce mercury-related problems. GMP strategies aim to build upon local knowledge and practices to train miners on the use of cleaner and affordable technologies of mining and mineral processing in order to minimize negative impacts. The initiative is especially proactive in facilitating transdisciplinary and participatory models of community interaction, involving local, regional, and international stakeholders in each of the strategy design, community assessment, and community intervention phases. The six participating countries are Brazil, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. This article outlines GMP’s objectives and scope of activities and also highlights achievements, challenges, and opportunities for future development.


capacity building ecosystem approach to human health mercury artisanal and small-scale gold mining Global Mercury Project 



This project is possible due to the technical and financial support from the Global Environmental Facility, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Our appreciation also goes out to all members of the Project Coordination Unit for their leadership and all the team members, collaborating partners, workshop participants, and community members, whose dedication and innovation led to the remarkable achievements of the GMP within 3 years of its launching. We are particularly grateful to the Assistant Country Focal Points: Roberto Villas-Boas (Brazil); Budi Susilorini (Indonesia); Eravanh Boungnaphalom (Lao PDR); Mohamed Suliman Ibrahim (Sudan); Aloyce Tesha (Tanzania); and Dennis Shoko (Zimbabwe).


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Journal Consortium 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations Industrial Development OrganizationVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mining EngineeringUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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