Topics » World   Jan. 27, 2014

One Filipino town's risky search for gold

Adding mercury

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Underwater miningMambulao BayRisky workCompressor miningMurky diveMiner emergesLong divesNipa palmsCollapsed tunnelsMuddy depthsAir sourceBreathing tubeA day's workSorting oreAdding mercuryPanned goldSundown

Adding mercury

Processors pour the sluice into large shallow pans and add mercury. As they swirl the slurry, the mercury binds to the gold and sinks to the bottom of the pan. They repeat this process over and over, carefully draining off the sludge, until a film of gold mixed with mercury remains at the bottom of the pan.