Peru Quashes Amazon Gold Mining Laws
Source: Commodity Online (6/23/09)
"mad rush of gold hunters. . .digging out gold pieces from the Amazon forests by destroying the environment."
In fact, our reports had highlighted the mad rush of gold hunters to cash in on the rising gold prices by digging out gold pieces from the Amazon forests by destroying the environment.
However, there are positive movements after the reports were published in several newspapers and portals. In a first sign of recognizing the importance of preserving environment, Peru has decided to change its newly-implemented mining laws, which allowed mining in Amazon regions.
Peru's Congress last week voted to revoke two laws enacted last year to open the Amazon to mining, oil and timber development, measures that enraged many indigenous groups and led to a bloody confrontation this month.
Legislators acted at the behest of President Alan Garcia, who admitted he committed a series of errors and exaggerations in pushing economic policies.
Legislators voted 82 to 14 to repeal the two decrees, which were among 90 measures Garcia signed into law last year using temporary power granted by Congress to meet preconditions for a trade agreement.
But indigenous groups said the laws sanctioned land grabs, abrogated their territorial rights and were promulgated with no consultation.
People from across Latin American nations have been flocking to the Amazon rain forests to make some quick bucks riding on the soaring gold prices in global markets.
As gold prices scale new heights, people have been thronging the Amazon jungle. If you wait for a day near the Amazon River you can see boats packed with gold hunters veer toward the shore of the Juma River and spill its passengers into Eldorado do Juma, scene of Brazil's biggest gold rush in more than 20 years.
Government geologists are trying to measure the deposits, while environmental regulators struggle to prevent miners from using heavy equipment or mercury, which joins gold particles together but can ruin rivers. The fear is that like Serra Pelada, Eldorado do Juma will end up a scarred wasteland.
Already, small rivers of mud gush from streambeds at night, suggesting that heavy-duty water jets are being used illegally, despite promises to wait for permits.