Environmental and social abuse continues in informal gold production

10 April 2017

Informal gold mining in the Selva continues, visibly ‘eroding river banks’ and ‘turn[ing] the water brown, orange and even a light blue’ says a report from Quince Mil in the Amazon rain forest.

The government’s main effort at regulation so far has consisted of reducing the complexity of registering. The new law in March reduced the required federal permits from six to three – clearly a sensible move. However, still very few small producers have registered. It would be more useful to improve coordination between the numerous federal, regional and local agencies involved – and even more useful to work on controlling the networks that buy the illegal gold. As Julia Cuadros of the NGO Cooperaccion says, with weak controls, an abundance of loopholes and a good market, ‘no one is interested in formalizing’.


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