Scramble for gold scars Madre de Dios region


Trained as a geological engineer and a gold miner by trade, Miguel Herrera examines a satellite map of the southeastern Peruvian jungle with a practiced eye. “This whole area has gold,” he says, sweeping his hand over the Madre de Dios River watershed. “El Dorado,” the fabled city of gold, might have eluded the Spanish conquistadores, but gold has drawn adventurers to the jungle for decades. And with international prices soaring, the rush is on in ever-growing earnest. Where miners once panned along riverbanks, there are now bucket loaders, dump trucks and high-pressure hoses powered by huge gasoline engines. With little oversight, miners in southeastern Peru’s department of Madre de Dios are laying waste to the rainforest, silting up rivers, dumping mercury into... [Log in to read more]

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