MAAP #174: Following Raid, Illegal Mining Camps Still Intact On Yapacana Tepui (Venezuelan Amazon)

January 30, 2023

Several weeks ago (on December 17, 2022), the Venezuelan government conducted a military operation against illegal mining activity in Yapacana National Park, located in the heart of the Venezuelan Amazon.

This operation came just after a high-profile article in the Washington Post exposing the severity of the illegal mining within the park, including on top of the sacred Yapacana tepui mountain, using images and analysis from our MAAP team and support from Venezuelan organization SOS Orinoco. The article also drew heavily from our work published in MAAP reports #156 and #169).

According to a series of tweets, the military was dismantling illegal mining camps, equipment, and supplies.

We obtained and analyzed very high-resolution satellite images taken just before (December 10) and after (December 22) the crackdown (December 17), covering the tepui and part of the surrounding lowlands (see Map).

No signs of the raid taking down mining camps on top of the tepui can be seen, mining camps on the tepui appear intact and not dismantled.

In conclusion, given the massive scale of illegal mining activity in Yapacana National Park, it is clear that a single operation is not sufficient to dismantle thousands of mining camps and remove thousands of illegal miners. A large-scale and long-term effort is needed.


Read the full report HERE>