The Latest from MAAP: Illegal Gold Mining Across the Amazon
October 26, 2023
Our newly published MAAP #197 report presents our most comprehensive analysis of mining across the Amazon to date. As illegal gold mining continues to be one of the major issues facing nearly all Amazonian countries, the information in these reports incorporates major gold mining operations in rivers with its deforestation effects, estimating that there are at least 58 active forest and river-based mining sites across the Amazon (49 likely illegal), and at least 36 conflictive overlaps with protected areas (16) and indigenous territories (20).
Illegal gold mining impacts both primary forests and rivers, often in remote and critical areas such as protected areas & indigenous territories. Thus, illegal gold mining is both a major deforestation driver and a source of water contamination (especially mercury) across the Amazon. While gold mining is actively causing deforestation in nearly all nine countries of the Amazon, these nations’ leaders attended a recent high-level summit in which they signed the Belém Declaration, containing a commitment to prevent and combat illegal mining, including strengthened regional and international cooperation in mitigating these harmful, illegal activities.