SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): As per latest studies, illegal mining activities are seen surging across the Amazon, with Brazil being the epicentre.
According to Robert Muggah, Co-Founder, Igarape Institute, the illegal extraction and trade of the yellow metal has fuelled corruption, money laundering and criminal violence acts. Furthermore, it is seen accelerating deforestation in the world’s largest tropical forest region. The political leadership in the countries in the region has a significant role to play in curbing illegal mining, he added.
Brazil is home to tens of thousands of small-scale miners and more than 320 illegal mines. The actual number is likely to go higher. The mined area in Brazil has surged almost six-fold from 31,000 hectares in 1985 to nearly 206,000 hectares in 2020. This comprises both legally and illegally mined areas. The country has become one of the top exporters of gold. However, a good proportion of it is illegally mined and processed.
The illegal gold mining activities have expanded in Brazil, mainly across indigenous territories and protected areas such as Yanomani amd Munduruku. There has been a proportionate increase in levels of violent crime and victimization. The primitive extraction techniques employed by illegal miners also lead to massive and long-term environmental consequences, such as deforestation. The mercury dumping has proved to be a threat to health of human and other life on earth.