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Invention to Clean Up Gold Mining, Improve Miner Health

A Peruvian engineer has created a device that drops the use of mercury in the gold mining process by instead using “a foam flotation process with simple gravitational techniques” to separate gold from rocks.[social_buttons]

The most commonly used process in developing countries uses mercury to separate the gold from the ore, and then burns off the mercury leaving only gold. The mercury pollutes ground water initially and the air once burned, affecting the health of miners and nearby residents alike.  While alternatives exist, the process is the most efficient for low gold-yielding ore.

Carlos Villachica and his daughter Joyce, also an engineer, designed the ECO-100 machine and have already put it into production. While it is already being used by miners in a Madre de Dios gold mine, the product will not officially debut until the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit on November 20th.

The machine is estimated to cost around $2,000 USD and can be used by six to ten miners simultaneously.

Photo Credit: Kevinzim on Flickr under Creative Commons license


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is primarily concerned with animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental justice. As a freelance writer in San Francisco, he leads a deliberately simplistic and thrifty lifestyle, yet still can’t help gawking at the newest green gadgets and zero-emission concept cars.


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