IGI North American President Avi Levy was recently appointed to the Mercury Free Mining (MFM) Board of Directors, an organization focused on eradicating the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM).
An Historic Issue
Mercury, a potent neurotoxin capable of great harm, is traditionally used in precious metal mining to separate gold from dirt and other sediment. Over time the effects mercury has on gold miners and their communities is devastating. Mercury and the toxic liquid runoff it creates pollutes our rivers, oceans, and fish that millions of people depend on as a source of protein. 37% of the world’s mercury emissions is a result of ASGM, totaling more than 13,000 tons per year, according to the United Nations Environment Program.
In partnership with MFM, Avi Levy will actively campaign to see mercury use in gold mining become irrelevant through education and funding research that explores alternative methods. Levy commented on the critical nature of MFM’s mission:
As we learn more every day about the threat climate change poses to our planet, we at IGI know – for this historically mining-based industry – it is crucial the gemological community restores the environment and combats pollution. As a lifelong learner, I am inspired by sustainable advances being made within the sector and happy to be collaborating with Mercury Free Mining as a board member and be part of the solution. IGI is constantly focused on identifying opportunities for engagement in worthwhile initiatives and aspires to lead others to do the same.
Uniting an Industry
As an environmental contaminant, mercury is exceedingly difficult to remove, but Toby Pomeroy, Executive Director of Mercury Free Mining, is ready to embrace the challenge:
It is thrilling for me to witness the jewelry industry coming together to address the centuries-old problem of mercury pollution from gold mining. It is extraordinary to see leaders of an industry dedicating their time, energies and money to the eradicating of mercury use in mining, contributing to the wellbeing of 20 million miners, their families and our environment.
Launched in 2017, MFM was created with a vision of inspiring the jewelry industry to address mercury emissions through identifying environmentally safe, effective systems to concentrate gold that meets the needs of the particular mining organization. MFM is committed to maintaining and enhancing the publics’ trust in the jewelry industry gold supply chain.
IGI and Environmental Stewardship
In June, IGI became the world’s first gemological laboratory to commit to carbon neutrality. IGI and SCS Global Services will evaluate the institute’s greenhouse gas emissions and create an action plan to mitigate the laboratory’s environmental impact. IGI’s New York offices will be first to undergo the process. With this move, IGI becomes the first gemological institute to commit to carbon neutrality through association with SCS Global Services (SCS). Since 1984, SCS has been advancing sustainable development goals across multiple sectors, working with a number of prominent diamond and jewelry industry entities including the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) and Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), among others.