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Article

3 Apr 2020

Author:
Mongabay

Peru: Study shows impacts of mining on deforestation and water quality

“A third of Peru’s La Pampa forest cleared for illegal mining ponds, study finds”, 2nd April 2020

…A new study reveals that nearly 5,400 hectares (13,300 acres) of forests have been converted into mining ponds in the Madre de Dios region of Peru.

The ponds have become contaminated with mercury and other chemicals in the mining process.

Researchers analyzed satellite and drone images to evaluate the effects of illegal mining and related activities on the forest.

Scientists who spent five years studying the impact of illegal mining in Peru’s southeastern Madre de Dios department recently explored that impact in La Pampa, a geographic area in the region. They found that sites where trees once stood tall now resembled desert, with piles of sand and stone covering the ground. As they traversed the land, the researchers found ponds, visible during flyovers, filled with brown, turquoise and green water. The state of these ponds suggested to them that the tropical forest in the area may not rebound…

According to the study published by the team from CINCIA, there has been extensive “conversion of forested landscapes to Amazonian wetlands through gold mining.” The mining ponds dug in La Pampa to separate gold from ore cover nearly a third of the 18,000 hectares (44,500 acres) of forest in the area…