Can mineral extraction ever be environmentally acceptable? – by David Jessop (Virgin Islands Daily News – October 4, 2020)

In August, the price of gold reached a record high of $2,073 per ounce. It did so as investors concerned about the impact of COVID-19, global economic instability, and falling bond yields, decided it was a safe haven.

Coincidentally, the spike occurred as Guyana’s Stabroek News published an investigative report in collaboration with InfoAmazonia and media partners in Brazil and Venezuela which described how a significant part of the Republic’s informal gold production is trafficked abroad.

A few weeks later InfoAmazonia published a more detailed account. “Tracing Tainted Gold,” described how across the Guiana Shield, mercury trafficking networks are enabling gold produced by small miners to be laundered; how it is moving across uncontrolled borders and through the region’s ports; suggesting that it is entering legitimate global supply chains, and possibly ending up in products made by some of the world’s biggest corporations.

Almost in passing, it indicated too that the whole illegal process has come to support the Amazon economies of Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, and Venezuela.

What additionally the two reports did, was to draw attention to gold, a Caribbean economic activity which otherwise receives little regional media coverage, is largely only commented on by environmentalists and those who follow mining, and about which few reliable or recent independent Caribbean statistics exist.

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