Mining boom in the Amazon

mongabay.com
December 08, 2012




Mining in Peru's Madre de Dios

The world's largest rainforest is in the midst of a mining boom fueled by high mineral prices, reveals a new assessment of the Amazon's resources.

The atlas, published by a the Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG), a group of 11 civil society organizations and research institutions, shows that nearly 53,000 mining areas cover 163 million hectares of land across the Amazon, or about 21 percent of the region. These areas range from potential mining zones to active mines.

The report finds that Brazil has by far the largest number of mining zones (42,623) and extent (135 million ha), amounting to 27 percent of the Brazilian Amazon. Guyana is second in terms of extent of mining areas, with 14.5 million ha, followed by Colombia with 502,000 ha.

At 67.5 percent of its Amazon land cover, Guyana has the proportion of its land mass designated for potential mining. By comparison, only 3 percent of the Peruvian Amazon has been okayed for mining, although the area affected by illegal, informal mining may be much larger.

Mining is of concern to civil society groups for its social and environmental impacts. Gold mining booms across the Amazon have spurred land invasions in indigenous territories and protected areas, at times sparking violent conflict. Meanwhile mining waste has poisoned rivers with mercury, cyanide, and heavy metals. Operations have torn up large tracts of forests and created intensive bushmeat hunting pressures in some places. Finally industrial mining operations often provide impetus for damaging infrastructure projects, including roads and dams, that further drive deforestation.

The atlas also highlights other potential threats to the Amazon, including expansion of oil and gas exploration and extraction, a proliferation in hydroelectric projects, expanding road networks, and growing incidence of fire.

CITATION: RAISG 2012. Amazonía bajo presión [PDF-Spanish}













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CITATION:
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Mining boom in the Amazon .

http://news.mongabay.com/2012/1207-raisg-amazon-mining-boom.html