World Resources Institute
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With gold prices skyrocketing and demand for other minerals on the rise, mining poses a growing threat to communities and ecosystems around the world. Conducting geospatial analysis of the Amazon biogeographic region, this report estimates, for the first time, the full extent of legal, large-scale mining concessions and illegal mining operations on Indigenous territories within the rainforest. It finds that, together, legal and illegal mining now cover more than 20% of Indigenous lands, endangering hundreds of Indigenous communities and critical ecosystems across 450,000 square kilometers.
Mining, the study also shows, is polluting at least 30 Amazonian rivers and eroding communities’ proven ability to prevent deforestation. From 2000 to 2015, Indigenous lands with mining activities had higher incidences of tree cover loss than those without mining. In Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, for example, forest loss was at least three times higher in Indigenous territories with mining operations – both legal and illegal – than those without; and one to two times higher in Colombia and Venezuela.