Peru's Operation Mercury stopped most illegal gold mining in one biodiversity hotspot—then the COVID-19 pandemic hit

2 months ago 152

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining is a lifeline for many who live in Madre de Dios, a region in southeastern Peru, where poverty is high and jobs are scarce. But the economic development in this part of the Amazon basin comes at a cost, as it causes deforestation, build up of sediment in rivers, and mercury contamination in nearby watersheds, threatening public health, Indigenous peoples, and the future of the biodiversity hotspot. And much of the mining activity is unauthorized.
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