Gold Mining Boom in South America Despite Handicaps

illigal gold mining in south america

(Mining Weekly) – Gold mining boomed in South America during the past decade. The legend of El Dorado has been revived by the recent 12-years old  gold price bull run.

In South America as whole, Brazil and Chile are the top leading minerals producer. Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru are also among the world minerals producers. All of them produce gold and they are ranked among the top 30 gold producers in 2009. Peru is ranked the world top sixth gold producer in 2012, producing 182.4 tonnes.

The whole content was politically an unstable environment for gold mining in the last decade. Hugo Chavez, the late Venezuelan president, and Evo Morales, the current Bolivian president, both nationalized more than 20 companies including a significant number of mining operations. Bolivia reported gold mine’s production fall in 2012 on nationalization.

During the period from 2010 to 2012, many South American countries created new or increased royalties, tariffs and taxes on gold mining. Other countries outside South America followed their steps such as Australia, Canada, South Africa and United States.

The local communities in South America opposed gold mining projects and mining companies to operate. They worry about water pollution and mineral poisoning. Moreover, mining have a substantial negative social and environmental impact, they said. An increase of crimes and un-diagnosed illness are reported near gold mining operations, and the local hold the mining operations responsible for them.