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1. Issued by / date / date of implementation

UN / 10.10.2013 / after ratification

2. Type of legislation

International agreement

3. General purpose

The Minimata Convention is a global treaty to protect the environment and humans from the lasting effects of mercury and mercury compounds.

The name of the Convention comes from the Japanese town of Minimata. There, in the mid-1950s, high levels of mercury were found in the environment as a result of uncontrolled dumping of chemical waste. As a result of this form of disposal, large amounts of the heavy metal accumulated in the marine fauna and flora. Much of the food in the region was sourced from the sea, so the population became ill from ingesting it. Today, the disease is also known as "Minimata disease".

4. Substitution relevant paragraphs

Article 3 Mercury supply sources and trade
1. For the purposes of this Article:
(a) References to “mercury” include mixtures of mercury with other substances, including alloys of mercury, with a mercury concentration of at least 95 per cent by weight; and
(b) “Mercury compounds” means mercury (I) chloride (known also as calomel), mercury (II) oxide, mercury (II) sulphate, mercury (II) nitrate, cinnabar and mercury sulphide.

Article 4 Mercury-added products
1. Each Party shall not allow, by taking appropriate measures, the manufacture, import or export of mercury-added products listed in Part I of Annex A after the phase-out date specified for those products, except where an exclusion is specified in Annex A or the Party has a registered exemption pursuant to Article 6.

Article 5 Manufacturing processes in which mercury or mercury compounds are used
1. For the purposes of this Article and Annex B, manufacturing processes in which mercury or mercury compounds are used shall not include processes using mercury-added products, processes for manufacturing mercury-added products or processes that process mercury-containing waste.

Article 6 Exemptions available to a Party upon request
1. Any State or regional economic integration organization may register for one or more exemptions from the phase-out dates listed in Annex A and Annex B, hereafter referred to as an “exemption”, by notifying the Secretariat in writing:
(a) On becoming a Party to this Convention; or
(b) In the case of any mercury-added product that is added by an amendment to Annex A or any manufacturing process in which mercury is used that is added by an amendment to Annex B, no later than the date upon which the applicable amendmententers into force for the Party.
Any such registration shall be accompanied by a statement explaining the Party’s need for the exemption.

Article 7 Artisanal and small-scale gold mining
1. The measures in this Article and in Annex C shall apply to artisanal and small-scale gold mining and processing in which mercury amalgamation is used to extract gold from ore.

5. Assessment of relevance for substitution

The multilateral agreement was adopted in Kumamoto (Japan) on 10 October 2013. To date, 128 countries have signed the treaty, of which 123 have already incorporated (ratified) it into their legislation.

The "EU Mercury Regulation" is the implementation of the Minimata Convention into European law. The Regulation regulates trade, use in industrial and small-scale commercial processes, disposal and other matters. In addition, key dates are listed from which trade in products containing mercury (see Regulation Annexes I and II) or the use of mercury in processes (see Regulation Annex III) will be banned.

6. Link to the legal text


7. Further information

Summary: Decision (EU) 2017/939 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
EU regulation on mercury

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