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Illegal gold production on the rise in Brazil

Bnamericas Published: Friday, October 07, 2022
Illegal gold production on the rise in Brazil

Illegal gold mining in Brazil is soaring, as 52.8t of the precious metal were produced clandestinely last year, up 25% over 2020, according to latest figures by NGO Instituto Escolhas.

“There are two points of attention: first, of course, the significant increase in gold with evidence of illegality, which shows the lack of control and actions to curb illegal gold mining in recent months. And, secondly, the fact that nearly two-thirds of that gold came from the Amazon. It means 32t of the metal left that region with some indication of irregularity,” Instituto Escolhas portfolio manager Larissa Rodrigues said in a press release. 

Most illegal gold production occurs in remote regions in the Amazon rainforest, where access for authorities – which also have been downsized – is difficult. Hence, experts like Rodrigues propose implementing a traceability system in the supply chain. The absence of such a system favors illegality, with severe impacts on people and environment.

Illegal gold mining is also a problem for major miners, as they are exposed to reputational damage. Stakeholders have been evaluating mechanisms to track national gold production to increase transparency.

“Criminal activities related to illegal mining are a case of the police, of jail. These are crimes that destroy communities, lands and indigenous peoples and the environment. Mining with compliance, which responds to command-and-control bodies, has no complacency with these crimes,” Raul Jungmann the head of Brazilian mining association, Ibram, recently told the Exposibram mining event.

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