Amazon tribe suffers mercury contamination as illegal mining spreads – by Fabio Zuker (Reuters – December 17, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

Illegal gold mining in the north Amazonian territory of Brazil’s indigenous Munduruku people has led to more than half of several hundred people tested showing unsafe mercury levels in their bodies, including children, health researchers say.

That is a particular worry to human rights defenders, as the country’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro pushes plans to introduce or expand mining and farming in protected areas of the world’s largest rainforest. That would include into indigenenous territory, where mining is currently forbidden by Brazil’s constitution.

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‘It’s as if we’re in Mad Max’: warnings for Amazon as goldmining dredges occupy river – by Tom Phillips (The Guardian – November 24, 2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Environmentalists are demanding urgent action to halt an aquatic gold rush along one of the Amazon River’s largest tributaries, where hundreds of illegal goldmining dredges have converged in search of the precious metal.

The vast flotilla – so large one local website compared it to a floating neighbourhood – reportedly began forming on the Madeira River earlier this month after rumours that a large gold deposit had been found in the vicinity.

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New gold rush fuels Amazon destruction (France 24.com – November 9, 2021)

https://www.france24.com/en/

Sao Felix do Xingu (Brazil) (AFP) – Standing over the gaping pit in the middle of his small farm, Brazilian wildcat miner Antonio Silva struggles to explain why he joined the new gold rush sweeping the Amazon.

The 61-year-old grandfather of six had planned to retire from illegal mining, and the environmental destruction that comes along with it. He bought this farm in rural Sao Felix do Xingu, in the southeastern Amazon, and was starting a cattle ranch on a long-deforested patch of jungle where he would not have to cut down more trees.

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Africa’s crackdown on informal gold miners spreads to Mali – by Katarina Hoije (Bloomberg News – November 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Mali is getting closer to bringing in new rules to better control artisanal gold mining and overtake South Africa as the continent’s second-biggest producer.

The country has struggled to keep tabs on informal output that’s sold on the black market or smuggled out, and gold is also being illegally funneled through the nation from its neighbors. While a mining code that came into force in late 2020 set out plans to overhaul the sector, no measures were implemented.

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Analysis: Illegal gold mining in Peru set to continue – by Ben Heubl (Engineering and Technology – July 16, 2021)

https://eandt.theiet.org/

Peruvian authorities seem powerless to stop illegal gold mining that has wreaked havoc in the country’s rainforests and is poisoning the environment with mercury. E&T’s analysis shows that the practice boomed during the pandemic.

The price of gold is sensitive to crisis, but can itself be the cause of turmoil, especially in an environmental context.

During the past year and a half of the global pandemic, the gold price reached historic heights. As a result, an artisanal gold-mining boom swept the world, notably in countries that are but resource-rich.

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Going for gold in western Mali threatens human security – by FAHIRAMAN RODRIGUE KONÉ AND NADIA ADAM (Institute For Security Studies – July 8, 2021)

https://issafrica.org/

Uncontrolled artisanal gold mining in Kayes is damaging the environment and fuelling trafficking and local conflicts.

Mali’s artisanal gold mining sector regularly uses chemicals and dredges rivers, despite these practices being prohibited. The consequences for human health, environmental sustainability and local stability are dire.

The western region of Kayes is among the most severely affected. It produced an estimated 73% of the country’s 26 tons of artisanal gold in 2019 and generated US$1.23 billion.

Artisanal gold miners mostly use mercury and cyanide to separate gold from other minerals. Institute for Security Studies (ISS) research shows that these chemicals are smuggled into Mali from Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal through illicit trafficking routes.

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Indonesia: Danger Lurks At Illegal Gold Mines – by Keisyah Aprilia (Eurasia Review – March 10, 2021)

https://www.eurasiareview.com/

Risna recounted scrambling to save herself when dirt and rocks came tumbling into a 49-foot deep pit where she and other residents were mining for gold in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province on Feb. 24.

Seven people were killed and dozens more survived that landslide at the illegal mining site in Buranga, a village in Parigi Moutong regency, rescue officials had said.

“We the panners scrambled. Some managed to climb to the top but some were buried,” Risna, a 36-year-old woman who goes by one name, told BenarNews.

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Stunning NASA photo shows ‘gold’ Peruvian Amazon rivers, but there’s a dark backstory – by Jack Guy (CTV News – February 11, 2021)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/

All that glitters is not gold, the saying goes, as proven by a new photo taken from the International Space Station (ISS).

What appear to be rivers of gold running through the Amazon rainforest in Madre de Dios state in eastern Peru are in fact prospecting pits, likely left by independent miners, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory, which published the photo taken by one of its astronauts.

The pits are normally hidden from view to those on the ISS, but stand out in this shot due to reflected sunlight. The image shows the Inambari River and a number of pits surrounded by deforested areas of muddy spoil.

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Amazon gold rush: Brazil grapples with illegal mining in the rainforest – by Bryan Harris, Sam Cowie and Gideon Long (Financial Times – November 3, 2020)

https://www.ft.com/

When Brazilian military helicopters swooped over the Maicuru Biological Reserve in the Amazonian state of Pará in October, they discovered an illegal mining operation that was surprising in its sophistication.

There was a system of motors to heave gold out of deep caverns where it had been found and landing strips carved out of the surrounding rainforest to take the cargo away.

“This location is only accessible via plane, there’s no other way. So to structure an operation there, first you need to build an airstrip, and then have aeroplanes,” says Gecivaldo Vasconcelos, the federal police chief of Santarém, a sweltering port town along the banks of the river. “This demands an investment, it is not small scale.”

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Energy Renaissance lithium-ion gigafactory breaks ground in Tomago, NSW – by Natalie Filatoff (PV Magazine Australia- October 13, 2020)

Senec launches in Australia, aims to build an energy community

In less than a year from today, Australia will be producing its own renewable-energy-storing lithium-ion batteries in the Hunter Region.

Tomago, on the outskirts of burgeoning Newcastle and its world-class port, with its access to the skilled labour of the coal fields, the doctorates of Newcastle University, CSIRO’s Energy Centre research hub and supply chains of mineral wealth throughout Australia, has won the distinction and job opportunities inherent in becoming home to Energy Renaissance, Australia’s first advanced-manufacturing, lithium-ion battery facility.

Dubbed Renaissance One, the facility will be the flagship of ER, which intends to ramp up production to 5.3 GWh per annum of safe, affordable, hot-climate-optimised batteries for Australia and South East Asian markets in coming years.

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Goldmining having big impact on indigenous Amazon communities – by Dom Phillips (The Guardian – October 7, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

A new report has exposed the scale and impact of mining on indigenous reserves in Amazon countries as gold prices soared during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 20% of indigenous lands are overlapped by mining concessions and illegal mining, it found, covering 450,000 sq km (174,000 sq miles) – and 31% of Amazon indigenous reserves are affected.

The report, released on Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, said indigenous people should be given more legal rights to manage and use their lands, and called for better environmental safeguards.

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Indonesians turn to illegal gold mining as coronavirus pandemic hits economy (Agence France-Presse – September 24, 2020)

https://www.scmp.com/

With the coronavirus devastating jobs across the country, desperate Indonesians are flocking to illegal gold mines as the soaring price of the precious metal overrides the risk to their lives and the environment.

Spooked by the economic destruction wrought by the pandemic, consumers and investors around the world have been snapping up gold, which is seen as a hedge against volatility, sending its price to a record above US$2,000 an ounce last month.

The surge in demand has fuelled a boom in mineral-rich Indonesia’s illegal mining industry, with workers ignoring the threat of arrest, mercury poisoning or being caught in the middle of gun battles.

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Amazon gold rush: illegal mining threatens Brazil’s last major isolated tribe – by Simon Scarr and Anthony Boadle (Reuters Canada – June 25, 2020)

https://ca.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Illegal gold mining activity has risen sharply over the last five years in Brazil’s indigenous Yanomami reservation in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, a Reuters review of exclusive data from satellite images shows

The Yanomami are the largest of South America’s tribes that remain relatively isolated from the outside world. More than 26,700 people live within a protected reservation the size of Portugal, near the Venezuelan border.

However, the land beneath the pristine forest they have inhabited for centuries contains valuable minerals – including gold.

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Hunting for particles of gold in the jungles of Southeast Asia – by Paul Salopek (National Geographic – June 24, 2020)

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/

Artisanal prospectors in Myanmar ply a grueling trade that experts say may vanish in a generation as the world’s gold strikes shrink.

HTAW THAR, MYNAMAR – Walking across the world, you encounter human beings engaged in various repetitive behaviors. Raising babies. Fixing machines. Boiling tea. Planting crops. Posting videos on TikTok. Looking for gold.

Our species’ pervasive quest for gold is ancient and tireless. Along my 11,000-mile trail out of Africa, I have met modern-day miners blasting apart a Bronze Age gold mine—a rare, 5,400-year-old archaeological site—to squeeze the last dregs of metal from the hills of the Caucasus nation of Georgia.

I have stumbled across a tribe of nomadic prospectors sifting glimmers of placer from the wild mountains of Pakistan. And lately, in Myanmar, I met a middle-aged couple, Than Ngwe and Do Toe, washing tons of river gravel by hand in the hunt for specks of shining color. (Watch artisanal gold miners at work in Myanmar.)

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Subsistence miners lose out as coronavirus crushes local gold prices – by Helen Reid and Jeff Lewis (Reuters U.S. – March 31, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG/TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) – Informal gold miners from South America to Africa are selling gold at almost 40% discounts as measures to curb the coronavirus crimp supply routes and dry up funding.

Border restrictions and flight cancellations have created gold gluts in local markets, depressing prices for small-scale miners even as global prices are pushed back towards 7-year highs by investors piling into bullion as a safe-haven asset.

Artisanal miners – subsistence workers who typically use rudimentary techniques – number around 40 million worldwide, according to a 2019 estimate by Delve, an artisanal mining database.

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