Following two previous missions for consultation with government and community to identify technical assistance needs, CIRDI recently completed its first technical field mission to Bebara and Bebarama (January 24th – February 3rd, 2018). The purpose of the mission was three-fold:
- Complete a technical assessment of the mining zone to identify major opportunities for improvement in exploration and recovery techniques
- Provide early knowledge exchange and technical capacity building for local miners
- Continued trust and confidence building; articulation with local, national and international stakeholders; identification of opportunities for deepening activities related to gender, transcendent knowledge, peace-building
CIRDI’s field team consisted of 4 technical experts:
The team achieved all mission objectives and found that:
- There are many similarities between Yukon and Choco gold alluvial gold mining, and high potential for sharing learning and leadership/expertise of Canada
- ASM miners are very eager to learn more about the Canadian example, which just 30 years ago used many similar techniques and tools, including abundant mercury pollution; Yukon and BC have been leaders in resolving some of the biggest issues associated with small-scale mining, and operating a responsible, formal ASM sector
- The mining in the area was well organized and provided a good foundation for considerable improvement
- Current mining practices in the area result in large losses of gold in the recovery process and unnecessary environmental destruction
- Previously-mined areas are candidates to be re-mined, which will mean lower start-up costs for operation, less environmental damage to “virgin” lands.
The mining community representatives were complimentary of this first mission, indicating learning during the short mission, and are looking forward to a technical recommendations report and a follow-up visit from the CIRDI technical team.