Mercury

Development of an Action Plan to Address Primary Mercury Mining in Kyrgyzstan

Introduction

This project—a partnership activity between Kyrgyzstan, UNITAR, UNEP Chemicals, and UNEP/GRID-Arendal, with financial support from Government of Switzerland and US EPA—is carried out in the context of the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership Programme established in 2003. The overall goal of the programme is to reduce the risks to human health and the environment from anthropogenic mercury releases worldwide.The overall objective of the project is to reduce risks associated with primary mercury mining in the Khaidarkan area, Batken Oblast, Kyrgyz Republic, by (i) assessing the mercury mine and smelter, including environmental, technical, and socio-economic aspects and (ii) developing an action plan to address identified gaps and challenges including options to replace the present mercury mining operations in the area by environmentally less harmful initiatives. The Khaidarkan primary mercury mine is the last known commercial-scale mercury mine in the world.

The project is expected to raise awareness of the local as well as donor community about currently ongoing primary mercury mining in the country and, through its catalytic nature and approach, stimulate investments for possible follow-up. Activities planned under the present project are of an analytical nature and constitute only an initial stage in the process of addressing mercury risk reduction in Kyrgyzstan.

 

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