rainforest goldmine in Venezuela, photo by One Off Man Mental (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

rainforest goldmine in Venezuela, photo by One Off Man Mental (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

As international gold prices rise, demand for the precious metal increases and prospectors in search of fortune – or simply trying to eek out a living – are flooding into gold mining areas. Peru, Honduras and The Congo have all been in the news as nations where gold mining is linked to environmental, political and human disaster. Sensitive ecological regions of Venezuela – including rainforest– are also suffering the effects of a toxic gold rush. Toxic – because of the mercury used for gold mining, which is not recycled or disposed of properly and in turn contaminates the water, poisoning fish and the local people who eat them. The gold rush is also bringing violence and misfortune to the indigenous communities who live in the regions where the mines, many of them illegal, are located.

Read more about ‘Venezuela’s Toxic Gold Rush’ in the environmental periodical E Magazine. Also be sure to check out the following video for a bit of unconventional journalism on the illegal gold mines around the town that’s known as ‘El Dorado’ and the environmental, social, political, and health issues associated with them. Yes, those intrepid slackers at Vice Magazine and VBS.tv have gone all the way to the jungles of Venezuela in search of gold. What they find doesn’t glitter so brightly.

VBS News – El Dorado

 

Additional resources:

No Dirty Gold