Solutions journalism program on small-scale gold mining launched

MANILA. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining supplies about 20 percent of the world’s gold and can be a viable, responsible source of livelihood with proper support and safeguards, according to planetGOLD.
MANILA. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining supplies about 20 percent of the world’s gold and can be a viable, responsible source of livelihood with proper support and safeguards, according to planetGOLD.Photo by planetGOLD Philippines

APPLICATIONS for a solutions journalism program for media practitioners were opened by the Global Environment Facility-supported planetGOLD programme this week to raise awareness and provide solutions-oriented reporting on the issue of artisanal and small-scale gold mining or ASGM.

The program, dubbed as “Beyond the Headlines,” will gather seven journalists from different countries on September 20-22 to undergo a media workshop on the principles and practices of solutions journalism and a visit to a gold mine in the Municipality of Paracale in the Philippines.

According to planetGOLD, ASGM supplies about 20 percent of the world’s gold and is an important source of employment for 10-20 million miners in about 80 countries. However, due to limited economic opportunities or a lack of awareness about the dangers, many of these artisanal and small-scale mining operations use toxic mercury to extract their gold. As a result, this sector is the world’s largest anthropogenic source of mercury pollution, the group said in a statement.

“But strides have been made toward demonstrating that artisanal and small-scale gold mining can be a legitimate driver of sustainable development with the right environmental and social safeguards,” said Jennifer Wilmore Scroggins, planetGOLD’s communications manager.

“With better access to modern machinery, financing, and training, small-scale miners can operate more responsibly and without mercury, improving the gold supply chain while supporting the livelihoods of more than 100 million people who rely on this industry,” she added.

The solutions journalism program, according to planetGOLD, will immerse journalists in this issue and aim to bring more nuance to the discussion of ASGM.

“This mining sector is complex, but it sometimes gets painted with a broad brush,” Scroggins said.

“Journalists have the power to contextualize the different situations and challenges miners and their communities face–and to unpack potential solutions and strategies that government, finance institutions and industry leaders can employ to help miners transition to more responsible methods,” she said.

The selected journalists will have the opportunity to interact with miners, community leaders, advocates, and fellow journalists. They will also be given a tour on the operations of a mercury-free processing facility in Paracale.

Interested journalists can know more about the program through https://tinyurl.com/planetGOLDSolutionsJournalism and have until July 19, 11 p.m. Manila time (GMT +8) to apply. (PR)

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