Around 3,000 informal miners took to the streets of Lima, Peru last Thursday to pressure the government to extend its deadline for registering mining activities, due to expire next month. On Monday, protestors blocked roads around the country, in total leaving at least 1 dead and 12 injured. The government, which has dispatched 5,000 police and 1,000 army troops in response, refuses to extend its April 19 formalization deadline and intends to press charges against 40 informal mining group leaders. Around 70,000 of the country's estimated 100,000 informal workers have signed a declaration committing to formalization.
Illegal and informal miners produced around 12% of Peru’s gold output in 2012, generating about $3 billion in annual revenue. However, debate over the issue is ripe, as unregulated gold mining is destroying the rainforest and causing mercury contamination of water and fishing sources. Miners, meanwhile, protest the legislation’s deadline, arguing that it could destroy the livelihood of thousands of small-scale miners and their families, and support a 2-year extension as well as a more integrated legal framework to sustain formalization.
Write-up By: Mersadies Burch, GFI Intern
(Photo via AP-Rodrigo Abd)