Publish at November 09 2021 Updated November 19 2021

Gold miners destroying Guyana's ecosystem

A quest for wealth with negative effects on all

The desire for gold has always been great in the heart of man. It is a shiny beast of an ore that is worth a lot of money. Even more so today when its value in the stock market is exploding. Consequently, when gold was discovered in French Guiana 150 years ago, the mining potential quickly became apparent. However, if each year, officially one ton of gold is extracted from the country, about ten others are extracted illegally.

In fact, the "garimpeiros" are gold miners from elsewhere often from Suriname or Brazil who take advantage of the fact that the immense territory covered by forests allows them to hide their excavation sites. In this area the size of Austria, it is difficult for the authorities to stop these foreign bandits.

Or, it seems increasingly urgent to do so because this illegal gold panning has disastrous consequences for the environment. Already, it has led to intense deforestation, thousands of hectares of the Amazon have been lost. In addition, the soils have been screwed up by the gold miners and their activity brings out mercury that accumulates in the waters, the fish and, inevitably, the Guyanese population that eats these animals.

Time: 8min58

Photo : Richard Blaikie from Pexels

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