A page compiled by:
Marcello M. Veiga
Madison do Brasil, R. Barão do Flamengo 32, 8 andar, 22220-080, Rio de Janeiro
John A. Meech
Department of Mining and Mineral Process Engineering,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4, Canada
The ability of mercury to form amalgams with gold and silver has been exploited by man since antiquity. Only in recent years have we recognized the significant danger of this metal to accumulate in food web and cause health problem. This paper presents a brief overview of the use of amalgamation in North and South America for gold recovery from ores and concentrates. The widespread reliances of "informal" gold miners to use this process suggests that its rapid demise is only hopeful thinking. Instead, "safe" methods must be promoted among the miners through education and demonstration.