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Stunning and extremely rare photos from NASA have revealed how extreme gold mining has become in Peru’s Amazon Rainforest. Some of it is thought to be illegal.
The line of gold seen from space is known as the rivers of gold. This gold line captures images which are believed to be mines dug up illegally by unlicensed miners according to the space agency.
It is actually difficult to spot these gold mines from as far as space. However, the pits were illuminated by reflected sunlight.
This photo was captured by an astronaut who was on the International Space Station (ISS). The photo was captured in December 2020.
The images are evidence that there is high destructive gold mining in the Madre de Dios region in the south-east of Peru.
Peru is the leading country for exporting gold in the world and Madre de Dios is home to a large unregulated gold mining industry filled with workers who are trying to make a living.
This area is home to the largest biodiversity variety in the world. Now, due to extensive extractive industries, there is a lot of deforestation and destruction of species’ habitats.
The mining also has an effect on humans. The mining poisons local communities as there is a lot of mercury used to extract the gold. Scientists have also stated that a lot of this poison has been dumped into the rivers or released into the atmosphere.
After searching the mine pits in person, there were hundreds of basins filled with water and gold. The vegetation has been removed and the mud is infertile.
This part of the region where the mining is taking place is home to exotic species including monkeys, jaguars and butterflies. Mining has been the lead cause of deforestation in the Amazon.
A study done for the forest in 2019 showed that gold mining destroyed 22,930 acres of Peru’s Amazon.However, there is the crisis of the local communities making a living from gold mining.
In 2020, in another part of Peru, La Pampa, a huge gold mining site was shut down and 5,000 miners were expelled.
By Meena Atmakuri