Mercury Inventory Toolkit


UNEP's Toolkit for identification and quantification of mercury releases, hereafter referred as the Toolkit, is intended to assist countries to identify and quantify the sources of mercury releases. With the Toolkit, a comprehensive national mercury releases inventory can be developed. These inventories will assist countries in setting priorities and reduction targets, and enhance international co-operation, knowledge sharing and enable targeted technical assistance. Moreover, inventories from countries contribute to the scientific knowledge of the scale of worldwide mercury releases as demonstrated in Global Mercury Assessment.

The Toolkit is user-friendly, and it provides clear guidance on different stages of inventory development, including identifying mercury sources, quantifying the consumption and calculating the final releases. It provides a rich manual, calculation spreadsheet and a standard template for reporting. The latest version of the Toolkit has been released in 2019.

The Minamata Convention

The Toolkit has been a standard tool in over 60 the GEF funded Minamata Initial Assessment projects implemented by UNEP, UNIDO and UNDP. Furthermore, the Toolkit is also one of the methods recommended in guidance from the Minamata Convention on preparing inventories of emissions pursuant to Article 8.

The Toolkit

The Toolkit exists in two levels to meet the different needs of the countries:

  • Level 1 is a simple and easier tool without the possibility to change the underlying factors (e.g. mercury levels in non-ferrous metal ores). Preparing a Level 1 inventory requires less data and effort but is consequently more uncertain.
  • Level 2 is a detailed and comprehensive tool where all underlying factors can be tailored according to the national information. Preparing a comprehensive Level 2 takes more time and effort, but it enables a better and more accurate analysis of the situation.

The latest 2019 version of the Toolkit contains the following changes among other smaller refinements:

  • Category 5.2.6 - Gold extraction and initial processing by methods other than mercury amalgamation: The default input factor has been changed from 15g Hg/t to 5.5g Hg/t.
  • Categories 5.8.1, 5.8.5, 5.9.1 and 5.9.4 on wastes: The default input factor has been changed from 5g Hg/t to 1g Hg/t.
  • Category 5.5.3 - Light sources with mercury:
    • Fluorescent tubes (double end): The default input factor has been changed from 25mg Hg/item to 8mg Hg/item.
    • Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL single end): The default input factor has been changed from 10mg Hg/item to 2.7mg Hg/item.
    • High pressure mercury vapor: The default input factor has been changed from 30mg Hg/item to 40mg Hg/item.

These changes needs to be taken into account when results calculated using earlier versions are compared to the results calculated using the 2019 version. In general, it is worth noticing that all earlier versions of the Toolkit calculation spreadsheets are different not only regarding different default factors, but also regarding introduced new source categories and new calculation methodologies. These changes affect to the calculated results, making inventories - especially Level 1 inventories - developed using different versions incompatible for straight forward comparison.

The latest versions (2019) of the Toolkit calculation sheets exists currently in English, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. Guidance material available in different languages from earlier versions (2005, 2013 and 2015) can be used with the updated calculation sheet keeping in mind that some information might be outdated.

Inventory Level 1

Inventory Level 1 calculation spreadsheet is a simple and easy to use tool. The calculation spreadsheet is accompanied by the guideline manual and the reporting template. In the 2017 version, it is also possible to record and take into account existing mercury controls and managements practices for selected source-categories.

Inventory Level 1 consists of the following components:

Inventory Level 2

Inventory Level 2 calculation spreadsheet is detailed and comprehensive, allowing users to adjust all factors included in the calculations, resulting more accurate understanding of the release sources. Inventory Level 2 also includes a detailed Reference Report, containing detailed descriptions of all included mercury sources. The Reference Report is not only helpful for preparing a Level 2 inventory, but it also gives more insight on release sources when preparing a Level 1 inventory.

Inventory Level 2 consists of the following components:


To better understand the global sources of mercury emissions and releases and to further develop the Toolkit, UNEP collaborated with Biodiversity Research Institute to conduct an analysis of the available inventories produced as a part of the Minamata Initial Assessments (MIAs).

As a result the report "Global Mercury Inventory Synthesis - An Initial Examination of the MIA Mercury Inventories" was published in December 2019. For the report, the inventories from 43 countries from around the world were compiled and analyzed. The selected countries represent a range of socio-economic backgrounds, regions, and sizes (both in population and geographic area).

Download the Report

Available training

Learn online

Based on the Toolkit, the e-learning platform MercuryLearn has been developed in co-operation with UNITAR (available in English and Spanish). MercuryLearn is developed to introduce the Toolkit to first-time users, serve as a reference tool for trained users, and enhance the usability of the Toolkit as a standard methodology. The platform provides an interactive online learning experience, enhanced with video lectures, quizzes and a forum for experts to exchange information and experiences. MercuryLearn was funded by the European Commission and the government of Switzerland.

Get trained by an expert

UNEP maintains a roster of Toolkit experts who you can engage to organize training workshops, review your inventory or provide you with hands-on guidance on developing an inventory. Please contact us to acquire more information.

Existing Inventories

Countries are encouraged to share their inventories with UNEP Chemicals and Health Branch which will make them publicly available. Published national mercury release inventories can be found here.