Mercury Free Mining Challenge
Transforming artisanal & small scale gold mining for the health of the world.

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The Mercury Free Mining Challenge Gains a Global Audience in Paris

The Mercury Free Mining Challenge (MFMC), a team of leaders in jewelry and materials sciences working toward a safe alternative to toxic mercury use in small-scale gold mining, has made its cause the topic of conversation at recent conferences in Tucson, Atlanta, Chicago, New York – and now in Paris. With the aim to transform jewelry, mining and global heath by curbing mercury pollution, the MFMC is winning international support.

 A commitment to launch a prize-driven challenge to attract innovators, entrepreneurs, and engineers to utilize the vast powers of technology in solving this growing global problem was well received at the OECD.  PARIS – APRIL 20, 2018

A commitment to launch a prize-driven challenge to attract innovators, entrepreneurs, and engineers to utilize the vast powers of technology in solving this growing global problem was well received at the OECD.

PARIS – APRIL 20, 2018


After receiving the inaugural award for Leadership in Responsible Practice in Jewelry at the Initiatives in Arts and Culture’s eighth annual International Gold Conference in New York, MFMC founder Toby Pomeroy flew to Paris for the World Bank–OECD roundtable on establishing a global platform on artisanal and small-scale mining. His attendance came at the request of U.S. Department of State’s Economic and Commercial Affairs Officer, Betsy Orlando, who saw the MFMC initiatives to be aligned with a broader, global conversation. Pomeroy, who’d met with executives from the Artisanal Gold Council, Levin Sources, and the Global Environment Facility reported “Ms. Orlando’s invitation to attend the OECD Forum last week extended high-level and welcome support for our bold approach to solving one of the world’s most pernicious health and environmental problems; mercury pollution.”

While no formal agreements were signed at the conference, the mercury free mining challenge was the hot topic of many conversations. Since returning from Paris, MFMC has been approached by two familiar global Brands who are exploring avenues to powerfully express their commitment to responsible sourcing and a Mercury free gold supply chain.

Meanwhile Stateside, the MFMC has already raised nearly $20,000 thanks to the generosity of primarily independent jewelers, doing their part in driving a safe alternative to toxic mercury use in small-scale gold mining as the jewelry industry consumes over half of that gold annually.  What’s needed to raise enough funds for a million-dollar research prize, however, is support from larger intuitions (especially those who trade in gold on a far greater scale).  Yet Pomeroy, who pioneered socially and environmentally responsible gold from Hoover and Strong and acts the only U.S. member on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Responsible Mining, demonstrates an ability to change industry norms­ worldwide — and is hopeful more change is coming soon.   


Please contact Toby Pomeroy for more information: toby@mercuryfreemining.org

Rachel Tourville