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Price Gold Philippines 0215.JPG
Mercury amalgam--a mixture of mercury and gold before being heated to vaporize the mercury...Processing gold with mercury:  Processed gold ore is panned with mercury in a metal pan using a flattened stone.  The process help mercury attract tiny gold flecks which eventually form an amalgam.  The amalgam is forced through a sieve made from umbrella nylon to remove water and any loose mercury.  The gold-mercury mix is then heated with a torch to vaporize the mercury which leaves pure gold...Story Summary:.Small-scale gold mining in the Philippines uses mercury and cyanide to extract elemental gold from ore extracted from mines and pits dug by hand.  Very young children, some as young as four, are put to work at less dangerous but still rigorous tasks in the gold mining areas.  These include panning in streams or rivers and hauling ore sacks that can weigh up to 60 pounds.  Children often play near mechanized equipment and highly toxic mercury and cyanide.  These chemicals, used to help extract elemental gold from ore, are leached into nearby watersheds where fish and other marine life, mainstays of the Philippine diet, are poisoned.  The high price of gold and the poor economy in many developing countries has led to an increase in small-scale gold mining throughout the world.