With the popularity of the TV show, gold fever is still in vogue. But legacy concerns with Mercury still persist.
Artisanal mining might sound quaint, but it is usually criminal activity and results in widespread environmental damage. It also is the largest source of mercury pollution in the world today, far exceeding other activities such as coal combustion and cement manufacturing. While mercury is an element that occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust, it has many toxic effects on humans and animals, even at very low exposure levels.
For more, check out this IEN story.