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Illegal gold extraction hits record in Brazil – report

Aerial view of gold mine in the Amazon (Stock Image)

Brazil produced 47.9 tonnes of gold with evidence of illegality in 2021, equivalent to 54% of the national production. This amount is 25% higher than in 2020 and the highest on record, according to a survey conducted by Instituto Escolhas.

“There are two points of attention: first, of course, the significant increase in gold with signs of illegality, which shows the lack of control and actions to curb the extraction of illegal gold in recent months,” said Larissa Rodrigues, Portfolio Manager at Choices Institute.

“Secondly, almost two-thirds of that gold came from the Amazon. In other words, 32 tonnes of the metal left that region with some indication of irregularity.”

Rodrigues reinforces that the absence of a traceability system of origin for the gold chain increasingly favors illegality, increasing the impact of illegal extraction on the Amazon biome and the lives of forest populations.

Between 2015 and 2020, Brazil traded 229 tonnes of gold with evidence of illegality, equivalent to almost half of the gold produced and exported by the country.

According to Instituto Escolhas, there has been a seven-fold rise in deforestation caused by mining in the Amazon over the last seven years, from 18 square kilometers in 2015 to 121 square kilometers in 2021.