“Mining, both legal and illegal, impinges on more than one-fifth of Indigenous territory in the Amazon, according to a new study from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (RAISG).
Other research has shown that mining for gold and other minerals can wreak havoc on the local ecosystems on which these communities depend, increasing deforestation rates and sullying rivers. And the search for minerals often drags problems like drug use, alcoholism and prostitution into communities and creates destructive social conflict.
Mining’s reach has extended over 1,131 distinct territories across 450,000 square kilometers (174,000 square miles) of the six Amazonian countries included in the study — Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Peru — write the study’s authors. The analysis reveals that forests disappear up to three times faster in places with mining than in places without it, and the often toxic chemicals used by miners, including mercury, have touched 30 or more rivers in the world’s largest rainforest.”