A Calculator to measure the economic impact of ASGM in Guyana and Suriname

A Calculator to measure the economic impact of ASGM in Guyana and Suriname

Spanish version available here


The use of mercury in gold mining in Guyana and Suriname is a challenge that their governments must face in order to comply with the commitments assumed by the Minamata Convention. Having tools that promote clean technologies in mining is an urgent necessity to protect human health and the environment.

In this regard, Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held two workshops in Guyana and Suriname to introduce key actors and experts in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) with the fundamental concepts and variables that comprise the economic valuation methodology that underpins CSF's Mining Impacts Calculator.

In Guyana, Mr. Aaron Spencer, Development Special Advisor - USAID, highlighted the usefulness of this tool in providing key information to decision-makers and advocating for sustainable practices that contribute to environmental conservation.

Photo Gallery - Workshop in Guyana (Photos: Annie Morillo).


The opening remarks in Suriname were given by Ms. Preciosa Simons of the Ministry of Natural Resources, expressing an interest in learning how this tool may be utilized in the country and analyzing the feasibility of incorporating it into policies, such as those addressing the environmental consequences of ASGM.

Ms. Catherine Griffith, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) of the U.S. Embassy, indicated that events like these workshops allow us to pool our knowledge, experiences, and insights to create meaningful solutions for the challenges posed by ASGM in the region.


About the calculator

 Mining Impacts Calculator home
The Mining Impacts Calculator was born from the alliance between the Federal Public Ministry of Brazil and CSF Brazil.


The Mining Impacts Calculator (Calculadora de Impactos do Garimpo) is a real-time economic valuation tool that provides the monetary cost of environmental and social damages caused by ASGM. The calculator estimates the impact of deforestation, river sedimentation and mercury contamination caused by this activity in the Amazon. The tool was launched in July 2021 and has been successfully used by the Brazilian Federal Public Prosecutor's Office (MPF). Currently, the penalties established by the Brazilian MPF have tripled thanks to the use of the calculator.


Getting to know the methodology

Mr. Leonardo Bakker, CSF economist, indicated that the calculator has an automated formula that uses average mining productivity and data-driven impact parameters. To this end, information has been systematized from academic literature and interviews with researchers and miners, so that the tool can offer data contextualized to the realities of Guyana and Suriname. The variables that support the methodology are the size of the mine, the amount of gold produced, and the extraction time.

The Mining Impacts Calculator can be used to estimate the values of social and environmental damages in the definition of compensation; to estimate the most efficient investment amounts  for planning and impact prevention; and to estimate the recommended amount of investment in mercury-free technologies, specified Ms. Martha Torres Marcos-Ibáñez, CSF Peru Director.


Cooperation opportunities

These sessions also sought to gather information and comments for the possible application of the tool in Guyana and Suriname. Likewise, strengthen cooperation to address the challenges associated with ASGM.

Participants included representatives of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Guyana Gold Board, Geological Services Division, Mining School and Training Centre Inc, Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency, Guyana Forestry Commission, Protected Areas Commission, and members of the Artisanal Gold Council on behalf of civil society.

In Suriname, officials from the Ministry of Finance and Planning, The Attorney General's Office, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment, EITI Suriname, Geological Mining Service, and the National Assembly were present. Also participating were members of academia, civil society and international organizations such as the IDB and the World Bank.

Photo Gallery - Workshop in Suriname (Photos: Annie Morillo).