New MAAP Report: Gold Mining in the Southern Peruvian Amazon

May 14, 2024

Thanks to support from USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), we’ve been able to publish a series of reports on the dynamic situation of gold mining in the southern Peruvian Amazon over the past several years.

Illegal gold mining continues to raise concern in this area, eliminating thousands of hectares of primary forest in the Madre de Dios region. The Peruvian government responded to this crisis with Operation Mercury at the beginning of 2019, followed by the Restoration Plan in 2021. MAAP #208 summarizes the complex mining situation from January 2021 to March 2024 in the southern Peruvian Amazon and outlines the gradual effects of illegal mining on its forests.

We documented the total mining deforestation of 30,846 hectares (76,200 acres) during this period, equivalent to over 40,000 soccer fields. Of this total, three-quarters (74%) of mining deforestation has occurred within the Mining Corridor, a large area where the government permits small-scale mining as part of a formalization process. Thus, the vast majority of mining deforestation is not necessarily illegal, because it is in the corridor designated for this activity. The remaining one-quarter (26%) of mining deforestation corresponds to probable illegal mining occurring in prohibited areas outside the Mining Corridor.

The majority of this illegal mining deforestation is occurring in Native Communities and buffer zones of Protected Areas. Additionally, in the second half of the report, we describe (for the first time) our strategic collaboration with the regional representative organization of indigenous peoples, known as FENAMAD. This process has led to the execution of 5 major government operations between 2022 and 2024.

Read the full report here.