Policy Briefing: Strategies for rehabilitating mercury-contaminated mining lands for renewable energy and other self-sustaining re-use strategies Output 3. March 2017. This report is one of the outputs of the Colombia Prosperity Fund project on 'Strategies for rehabilitating mercury-contaminated mining lands for renewable energy and other self-sustaining re-use strategies'.
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The aim of this short briefing is to explain how low input (gentle) remediation combined with soft (non-built) re-use of land can provide a sustainable and cost-effective means of restoring land for longer term economic and community benefit, for example on mercury impacted sites resulting from artisanal gold mining. Colombia has an enormous opportunity for the generation of renewable resources, such as energy from its land, from photovoltaic energy as an example. Linking the safe re-use of mining brownfields (following application of low input 'gentle' remediation techniques) with the generation of renewables presents a 'virtuous' opportunity for land (re)use for several reasons: A variety of local energy market arrangements are possible: The approach is scalable-workable as community based projects as well as large projects with major mining companies. The income from renewables can help offset the cost of making the land safe, for example, from mobile mercury contamination. The use of degraded land is a more sustainable approach for providing renewables than converting habitat or agricultural land over to renewables production. Colombia can acquire a lot of free energy from the sun when compared with many other countries in the developed world (e.g. the UK). There may also be opportunities for income from Carbon Offset.