Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Katie Purvis Roberts

Reader 2

Diego Lugo-VIvas

Rights Information

Johan Martinez


Artisanal and small-scale gold mining is a practice that is common all around the world, especially in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. It is also one of the leading consumers of mercury and leading sources of emissions. Governments have banned the use of mercury completely, including Colombia, but it continues to be used and emitted into the environment. This issue is exacerbated because there is a lack of standards, a lack of research done regarding mercury use in mining, and a complex socio-political history in Colombia. For this reason, this paper seeks to provide a proposed pathway for research to be conducted. These methods can be applied to any part of Colombia, but the focus is the National Natural Park the Farallones, which as a park should not have any mining in its vicinity. However, we expect there to be mercury concentrations that could negatively impact the health of people and the environment both in air and in water sources, specifically in areas close to emission sites. There are numerous alternatives to reduce and eradicate mercury use, including Gemini Tables, the Borax method, and education around mercury use. Several policy suggestions could be implemented as well, including a provision of materials, including borax which is an alternative to mercury and Gemini Tables which has found success in French Guinea, and education, such as introduction to concentrate amalgamation and information on proper ventilation practices, to reduce mercury and exposure. Our main goal is to provide research to secure the health and livelihood of people who work in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining industry, as well as secure environmental health.