The Darkside of Gold Mining in Peru, Life is Cheap

Posted on May 12, 2014 • Filed under: Latin America Mining, Peru, Social Issues reported. Life is cheap in the mining camps. Deaths go unrecorded and the mercury they use to bind gold flecks compounds the risks. It doesn’t just seep into the food chain. It poisons them and their families, too. And now a new threat now looms for the estimated 20,000 wildcat miners who toil in a huge scar of denuded Amazon rainforest known as La Pampa, an area nearly three times the size of Washington, D.C. Peru’s government declared all informal mining illegal on April 19 and began a crackdown. It raided the older boomtown of Huepetuhe, dynamiting backhoes, trucks and generators. Troops even destroyed the outboard motors of canoes used to ferry mining equipment across the Inambari river. In La Pampa, miners fear they are next. Their gasoline supplies have already been choked by authorities. Some buried their equipment after the crackdown began, only to unearth it days later when no raid came. But come it eventually will, the government says, because no legal mining concessions exist in La Pampa. Read Article/Photos

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