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Kyrgyz Primary Mercury Mine Project

The Kyrgyz Republic operates, in the town of Khaidarkan, the last primary mercury mine known to export mercury to the global market-place. It represents approximately 10% of the global mercury market. Generating new primary mercury is considered by the international community as the least preferred source of mercury supply, and action to assist the Kyrgyz Republic to transition away from primary mining has been recognized as a priority.

The goal of this project is to assist the Kyrgyz Republic to transition to more sustainable economic activities over the long term, in light of the future Minamata Convention on Mercury. Ultimately, limiting mercury supply globally will encourage the transition to alternative technologies in areas where mercury is still used.

The project aims to initially support transition actions in three thematic areas identified as:

1)    Reduction of most immediate threats posed by the mine site to the environment and the local population; 
2)    Promotion of investment in other industrial activities in the region; and

3)    Promotion of local alternative employment in the region.

The Global Environment Facility and the Government of Norway continue to support the activities undertaken by the Kyrgyz Republic. The results of these activities are expected in 2013-2016.

The Inception Workshop was held in Bishkek in 13-14 December 2012. The meeting report and the presentation made by UNEP are available here:

  • Meeting report     English pdf      Russian pdf
  • UNEP presentation     English pdf

However, further support will be required to assist the Kyrgyz Republic in any future mine transition process. Project partners consider this project remains well-regarded amongst the authorities at all levels in the Krygyz Republic and that it is important to maintain ongoing momentum to address the challenges facing the country.

Project Documentation

1. Reduction of Threats to the Environment

(1) A Synopsis: Remediation Planning (2009)     English pdf

(2) Technical Assessment (2009)     English pdf     Russian pdf

2. Alternatives to Mercury Mining

(1) Feasibility Study Development of gold and other mineral deposits near Khaidarkan (2012)     English pdf      Russian pdf

(2) Economic Benefits and Infrastructure Assessment: Review of local development opportunities and capacities in environmental remediation in the Khaidarkan area, Kyrgyzstan (2009)     English      Russian 

3. Support to local community

(1) Promoting alternative job opportunities in Khaidarkan in partnership with UNDP

  • Summary of activities (2011)     English     Russian
  • Report on Phase I (2010)     English
  • Small Capital Grants Facility Manual (2009)     English
  • Participatory Rural Appraisal Report (2009)    English

4. Other Related Documents

(1) Socio-Economic Assessment and appendices (2009) - In partnership with UNITAR
    English: document pdf appendices pdf     Russian: document pdf appendices pdf

(2) Kyrgyzstan Action Plan (2009) - In partnership with UNITAR
    English pdf     Russian pdf

(3)United Nations Statement - Kyrgyzstan Primary Mercury Mine, delivered at the Kyrgyzstan National Forum on 6 July 2009, by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Neal Walker     English      Russian