11 Oct 2013

Govt signs treaty to phase out mercury use

6:29 pm on 11 October 2013

Environment Minister Amy Adams says an international treaty to control the toxic substance mercury should not result in any major mining changes in this country.

The Government has signed a Convention to reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of mercury and its emissions.

The toxin can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and can also accumulate in the food chain.

Ms Adams says the treaty bans mercury mining and places restrictions on some gold and mineral mining.

She says mercury mining is not done in New Zealand.

Ms Adams says if the treaty is ratified, then the importation of mercury containing products, such as batteries, lamps and thermometers would have to be phased out.