Struggles loom as Bolivia prepares new plan to clean up its mercury problem

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By Maxwell Radwin Bolivia’s failure to combat illegal gold mining generated a heated national debate last year. Numerous news sites published investigations into deforestation, pollution and corruption tied to the mining industry, while leading officials in congress and the UN made public calls for action by the central government, which had largely been silent on the issue. The biggest concern was that mining operations make free use of mercury — a chemical that separates gold particles from soil — despite the country having signed onto an international convention to ban the toxic chemical a …

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