EU bans mercury exports from March 2011

25 September 2008 12:24  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The EU has banned all exports of mercury from the bloc from March 2011, it said on Thursday.

“The export ban is a key part of the EU’s strategy for reducing the global supply of mercury and thereby limiting emissions of the highly toxic heavy metal into the environment,” the EU said.

The legislation requires mercury that is no longer used in the chlor-alkali industry or that is produced in certain other industrial operations, to be put into safe storage once the export ban takes effect, it added.

“This important piece of legislation will protect citizens by significantly reducing exposure to this highly toxic metal. Let us hope that other countries will follow our example and support our goal of cutting the global supply of this dangerous substance,” said environment commissioner Stavros Dimas.  

Although the EU stopped all forms of mercury mining in 2001, it is the world’s biggest exporter – responsible for up to a quarter of the global mercury supply.

The EU said this new legislation was designed to ensure that several thousand tonnes of mercury would be taken out of circulation and stored in a way preventing its release.

Industry association EuroChlor has made a voluntary commitment to ensure safe storage of mercury from the industry and compliance with all relevant national and EU legislation, according to the EU.

It was not immediately clear how the chloralkali industry would be affected by the legislation.

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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
+44 20 8652 3214

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