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Latin America and The Caribbean Mercury Storage Project - 2009-2010

The project started with an inception workshop that took place in Montevideo, Uruguay on 23-24 April 2009, during which the Assessment Report of Excess Mercury Supply in Latin American and the Caribbean, 2010 - 2050 was presented and formed the basis of the discussion.

The study revealed that:

  • The LAC region is currently a net importer of mercury (mostly used in ASGM)
  • Demand and supply equilibrium will most likely be in 2017
  • Estimated cumulative mercury surplus to be minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes up to 8,000 tonnes.

A project executive committee (execom) was established that served to catalyze regional action on finding environmentally sound storage solutions for excess mercury in the LAC . It was comprised of representatives from the governments of Argentina, Brazil (chair), Chile, Panama, Mexico, Barbados, Dominican Republic and from non-government organizations: ACPO-ZMWG, ISDE, Abichlor.

Project Milestones:

The main output of the second project execom meeting was the finalization of the Options Analysis and Feasibility Study for the Long Term Storage of Mercury in the Latin America and Caribbean.  The study provided information on various options which countries may wish to consider in the environmentally sound storage of excess mercury in the region. The key findings are:

  • Improvement of regional trade and legislation to control mercury use may accelerate mercury surplus, stressing the need for interim measures.
  • Above-ground engineered warehouses may be the most suitable and feasible solution for the storage of mercury in the LAC region.
  • Export may be a short-term solution for countries with a small mercury surplus.