photo by ActiveSteve (Flickr CC)

Gold rushes in developing countries mean riches for a few and crumbs, death and ecocide for the poor and the environment.

But never mind all that, there’s money to be made. Gold in Peru is booming. According to Australia’s 9MSN, Gold is now Peru’s number one export, with countries like Switzerland, Canada and the US as major buyers.

The article also briefly mentions the conflicts and environmental damage caused by Peru’s goldmines without going into any detail.

Here are some details:

Gold mining is destroying the Peruvian Amazon rainforest through deforestation, digging, and mercury, oil and hydrocarbon contamination, which is hazardous to the unique and rich ecology of the forest, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Many small-scale (often illegal) mines expose workers to high levels of mercury, which can damage the brain, kidneys and digestive system, as well as result in developmental delays.

So gold mining poisons people and destroys the environment, while a few get rich of the backbreaking labor of the poor.

From Al Jazeera:

The illegal gold miners of Peru are destroying thousands of hectares of the Amazon jungle. Environmentalists call the damage ‘catastrophic’, but the miners are doing it because they have no other choice.
They are part of what is known as ‘artisanal mining’ – small-scale mining, which globally engages at least 15 million people across 50 countries.

See this video report for more: