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Asia-Pacific Mercury Storage Project

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 The project was launched in March 2009 and successfully closed in July 2011.  It  initiated a regional process to support the sequestration of excess mercury in Asia and the Pacific. The project produced documents useful for governments to address the projected excess mercury supply in the region.


Project Milestones:

The report Assessment of Excess Mercury in Asia, 2010-2050 was produced and highlighted the following characteristics of the region:
  • Currently a net importer of mercury
  • Substantial excess or surplus mercury can be expected in the region after 2030, but national surpluses may occur before that.
  • The quantity of excess mercury, mostly accumulated between 2030 and 2050, would likely amount to be over 5,500 tonnes.
  • The main sources of excess mercury are from non-ferrous metal production such as zinc and gold as well as the management of mercury waste from the end-of-life products

For more information, the UNEP Assessment Reports of Excess Mercury Supply, 2010-2050, are available here: 

Project Outputs:

The United States of America Department of State supported the finalization of the  options analysis  study which would serve as the basis for countries’ decision on the preferred option. The final report  (September 2011) of the “Analysis of Options for the Environmentally Sound Management of Surplus Mercury” is available here. 

The key findings of the options analysis are:

  • Need to prepare for national surpluses which include evaluating national and regional approaches, developing management strategies, deciding on options including temporary storage and starting site selection for disposal facilities.
  • Storage in underground metal ore mines, which returns mercury to where it comes from, could be further investigated.
     
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    Photo courtesy of Lars Hylander, Uppsala University

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