Economic and social value/Conflict: Mercury
People involved in conflict resolution: International organizations
"Gold mining is one of the most rapidly expanding industries in the world. Since 2001, the price of gold has almost quadrupled, thereby offering significant opportunities for social and economic development. Large and mid-scale extraction by international mining corporations has significantly benefited national economies in the South. Small-scale gold mining, in turn, has attracted a large number of impoverished rural populations and is estimated to support the livelihoods of over 100 million people in more than fifty countries, while employing 15 million."
Along with this, small-scale mining in the Amazon does have its negative effects. "The expansion of the sector in many Amazon countries is characterized by disordered occupations of territories, chaotically organized mining operations, and dangerous working conditions. With unprecedented numbers of people entering the small-scale gold mining business, gold mining causes severe deforestation, uncontrolled release of mercury, and the deterioration of soil and riverbeds.
Leading international organizations – such as the United Nations and the World Bank – have invested significant efforts towards developing mechanisms that mitigate the environmental impacts of small-scale gold mining, such as using retorts, returning the top soil or rehabilitating vegetation. In practice, however, these solutions are only rarely implemented with success."