Artisanal Gold Council Missions to Africa, Mongolia, and the Philippines celebrate progress, highlight work ahead for the small-scale gold sector

Victoria-based charity/nonprofit Artisanal Gold Council (AGC)

Artisanal Gold Council Missions to Africa, Mongolia, and the Philippines celebrate progress, highlight work ahead for the small-scale gold sector
Mar 6, 2024

Victoria-based charity/nonprofit Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) is celebrating three successful missions undertaken by miners and staff during May and June. These missions were conducted to oversee the progress being made to develop mercury-free processing of gold in small-scale gold mining, build new relationships, and provide training and outreach opportunities for program and project staff. During these missions, representatives met with miners, government officials, Chieftains, government staff, Canadian embassy staff, American Embassy staff, and donor agencies to affirm their commitments to supporting an environmentally sound and socially responsible artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector.

Director of Innovation and Business Development Dr. Kevin Telmer and Project Manager for South America Tegan Holmes toured South-East Africa, visiting Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. During their visits, they met with national government officials and local Chieftains and discussed the benefits of developing regulations supporting a professional and formalized artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector. They also met with representatives from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and Canadian embassy officials to provide briefings on their efforts and discuss alignment with the Government of Canada’s international development goals. Dr. Telmer and Ms. Holmes also took time to brief US Embassy staff in Zambia and Zimbabwe and held meetings with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United National Development Programme (UNDP).

Douglas Kao, Project Manager for Mongolia and the Philippines, visited the sites of the planetGOLD Mongolia project. The planetGOLD program is supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and in Mongolia is executed by AGC. Mr. Kao, in collaboration with planetGOLD Mongolia National Project Manager Atlanbagana Bayarsaikhan, worked with miners and local professionals to review the progress of installing and commissioning a mercury-free processing system (MFPS) at the project site of Mandal soum. Through local expertise, the MFPS utilized enhanced technological processes to help liberate more gold from ore. This is a key incentive for stakeholder participation. The project has also established a tailings management system for off-site processing.

In the Philippines, AGC’s Communications and Public Relations Manager Ryan Painter spent two weeks meeting with national, provincial, and local government officials to discuss the importance of formalizing the sector and supporting mining associations that want to focus on this work. Supported by planetGOLD National Project Manager Abigail Ocate, Mr. Painter also spoke about the need to fast-track the establishment of formalized mining areas where mercury-free mining can be established. In addition, Mr. Painter supported project staff in engaging with national and local media to help build relationships between the project teams and journalists, conducted a day-long training session with Provincial Information Officers in Camarines Norte on communications and media relations, visited the planetGOLD Philippines Paracale mine site to interview miners about the benefits of mercury-free processing, and briefed Canadian embassy staff in Manila on the work undertaken by AGC in the country.

The mission and vision of the Artisanal Gold Council is a formalized and professionalized, environmentally sound, and socially responsible ASGM sector. ASGM supplies 20% of the world’s gold worth 30 billion dollars. It is also the world's largest single source of mercury pollution, a global pollutant that impacts human health. By aiding locally sourced solutions and alternatives to the use of mercury, AGC works to reduce and eliminate the use of this toxic substance while increasing the amount of gold recovered, supporting the development of businesses and entrepreneurs, aiding in access to financing, and supporting women to increase their engagement in decision making and direction of mining efforts.