Design of Mechanisms for Financing Capital Investments for Mercury Free Technologies



Focus Area

Environment and Climate Change




sustainable development goals




Global Environment Facility

Who Benefits

ASM miners and local communities

Delivery Partners

Conservation International

The Challenge

According to the Global Environmental Facility, ASM represents the largest source of anthropogenic emissions of mercury. Mercury use is a serious health threat especially to maternal health and early childhood development. In Guyana, where gold mining accounts for almost two-thirds of foreign exchange earnings, ASM gold mining is prolific and highly dispersed. While ASM is formalized and regulated in Guyana, technology and financing limitations still present challenges to the elimination of mercury.

Working towards sustainable, mercury-free supply chains in Guyana requires innovations in mercury-free technologies, regulatory and market incentives, education and training programs, and improved access to finance for capital expenses required for the transition to a mercury-free ASM sector. This project will address the final challenge by developing a bespoke model for ASM financing suited to Guyana’s vibrant ASM gold sector.

CIRDI's Approach

The project will implement a co-design and co-creation approach based on the social learning model of engagement. CIRDI will build an understanding of institutional relationships, local capacities and needs, and a shared vision for the future of financing capital investments for a mercury-free ASM sector. CIRDI will combine global leading practices in finance with local innovation to create a best-fit solution through a guided learning and design process. To implement this approach during COVID, CIRDI will work closely with local partners and make use of UBC’s significant distance learning assets to support training and engagement.

Project Details

Within the proposed project sub-activities, this will include three iterative social learning processes:

  • Process 1: Critical evaluation of existing knowledge and environmental context needed to diffuse inclusive financial services for artisanal miners.
  • Process 2: Knowledge co-creation and co-design about appropriate access to finance vehicles for ASGM.
  • Process 3: Co-learning and knowledge mobilization to finalise priority access to finance mechanisms.

Intended Impact

The project will co-create a bespoke financing mechanism for capital investments in mercury-free technologies for ASM. In applying a co-creation model, the project will build capacity for accessing finance and ensure that the proposed solution reflects local needs and national circumstances. Overall, the project will reduce financial barriers to the elimination of mercury in ASM in Guyana.

updates and news

Op-Ed: Strengthening the Reins on Sustainable ASM Financing

“…access to formal, private finance is key to establishing responsible and economically viable ASGM enterprises, to create a long-term, sustainable sector that realizes its full development potential…” PlanetGold (August, 2020) […]

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The New CIRDI Project Aims to Overcome Financial Barriers to the Adoption of Mercury-Free Technologies in Guyana’s ASM Sector

The Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) has been chosen to design new financing options for ASM communities in Guyana. The project, in partnership with Conservation International (CI), aims […]

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