Gold Mining in the Amazon Basin


the start


gold mining of surface deposits in the amazon region begin, in easily accessible locations near the coasts and major rivers

price of gold rises

1970 - 1979

Start of the most recent gold rush in the amazon area. Because gold prices began to rise even indigenous tribes surrounding the amazon began to mine because they were so desperate to support their own families. However this led to the destruction of their homeland.

discovery of more gold= more people

1980 - 1989

Over 100,000 prospectors invaded the state of Para due to a large gold deposit being discovered. While this is happening mining areas throughout Amazon cut down trees to make room for large machinery and roads to make it as easy as possible to attain gold, however this deforestation hurts the fragile ecosystem by putting both the fauna and flora unique to Amazon in endangered.

legal issues

1991 - present day

Since 1991 illegal mining juggernaut has remained unfettered. Peruvian law requires buyer to attain a certificate claiming it was mined legally, but there is no identification system to allow it to be tracked, so it is utterly pointless. Peru rises to be the world's number five producer of gold.

Gold $$ quadruples


The price of gold quadruples. This leads to many small businesses to coming to join the mining game, supporting the livelihoods of over 100 million people. So many international organizations have tried to step in to reverse the effects of this small scale mining, but they have little success.

Mercury conflict


Because mercury is necessary for gold mining, while more gold gets mined, more mercury gets imported into Peru rising exponentially since 2003. A way to resolve the over mining issue would be to control the mercury imports.

Rising problem- deforestation

2003 - 2009

between this time two mining regions in the amazon cleared 15,200 acres of forests with little chance of regeneration.

a lot of gold!


In 2008, registered production of gold was almost 300.000 kilo of gold.

economic and social value

2011 - Present

Extracting an ounce of gold costs from $400 to $500 and the profit is $1,000 per ounce. Gold is a huge money maker and has become a symbol of wealth in most societies.