zaterdag 19 april 2014

Zo'n 40.000 illegale goudzoekers in zuidoost Peru vrezen confrontatie met politie - Goudzoekers hadden tot 19 april tijd zich te legaliseren

The clock has run out for an estimated 40,000 illegal gold miners who had until Saturday to legalize their status in a region of southeastern Peru where fortune-seekers have ravaged rainforests and contaminated rivers. The government's vow to enforce a ban on illegal mining is raising fears of bloody confrontations.

The miners already have been clashing with police while intermittently blocking traffic on the commercially vital interoceanic highway that links the Pacific coast with Brazil, protesting government attempts to squeeze them out by drastically restricting shipments of the gasoline they use for their machinery. One miner has been killed and more than 50 wounded.
But officials insist this time they're serious about combatting the multi-billion-dollar illegal mining trade that accounts for about 20 percent of Peru's gold exports.

"We're not backing down even one inch," said Daniel Urresti, the former army officer leading the task for President Ollanta Humala.

The unrest already has left the region's cities short of food, inflating prices, and local authorities who support the miners have traveled to the capital to press for more time. They were denied an audience with Urresti and other officials.

In this May 20, 2011, file photo, gold is weighed at a gold-buying store in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru. Government efforts to halt illegal mining have mostly been futile. The clock has run out for an estimated 40,000 illegal gold miners who had until Saturday to legalize their status in a region of southeastern Peru where fortune-seekers have ravaged rainforests and contaminated rivers. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)The Associated Press
"I don't know what's going to happen after the government deadline lapses. I think the violence will begin," said Jorge Aldazabal, the governor of the Madre de Dios region who has spent more than a week camped out on a mattress in front of a 17th-century church to protest the crackdown and demand a solution.

Peru criminalized unpermitted mining in rivers and other protected natural zones in 2012 but repeatedly delayed implementing the law, which imposes up to 12 years in jail and fines of up to $54,000 on violators.

Now, with the government preparing to host global climate talks in December and the world's eyes upon it, authorities insist they are determined to end the illegal mining, even if critics say that invites mayhem because no economic alternatives have been offered to the miners, most of them dirt-poor migrants from the Andean highlands.

Very few qualify to legalize their operations because any permission they may have to use the land is questionable at best. Some have paid bearers of reforestation permits to mine on that land. Others mine on indigenous reserves. The government says most are squatters with no claims at all.

Urresti told The Associated Press that authorities will first go after a group of about 20,000 miners centered near the interoceanic highway in an area called La Pampa. They already have been clashing with riot police sent from Lima.

Those miners, who began arriving in 2008, populate shantytowns carved into jungle along the interoceanic highway where coerced prostitution and tuberculosis thrive and the glow of welder's torches mending overworked machinery burns well into the night.

As they separate flecks of gold from the sandy, alluvial soil, the miners use mercury to bind it. Tons of the toxic metal have been dumped into rivers, contaminating fish, humans and other animals and plants.

No one knows how much gold Madre de Dios contains. But officials say more than 159 metric tons, worth more than $7 billion at current prices, have been mined in the Austria-sized region over the past decade. The region is among the planet's most biodiverse and includes indigenous tribes that shun contact with outsiders and are vulnerable to diseases.

Peru as a whole ranks sixth globally and first in Latin America in gold production
Urresti said the La Pampa group is bankrolled by about 50 individuals.
"They move $2.9 billion dollars a year. It's a very big mafia," Urresti said, refusing to identify the individuals by name. He said prosecutors are gathering evidence against them for crimes including money-laundering.

In September, the government moved for the first time against companies accused of refining illegally mined gold. Previously, only illegal dredgers in Madre de Dios had been targeted.

Authorities destroyed 400 trucks and dynamited 13 illegal refineries valued at more than $30 million in the coastal towns of Chala and Nazca, far removed from Madre de Dios.

In an unprecedented move, it also seized 2 tons of gold and installed machines designed to detect gold at five airports in the country's southeast.

"They know we're serious and that we're going to smash the most expensive machinery and that we won't be stopped," Urresti insisted.

For their part, the miners interviewed by the AP at protests in Lima said they're unable to comply with government legalization requirements.

"What are we going to do if they boot us out?" said Reimundo Barrios, a 51-year-old miner who moved to Madre de Dios in 1980. "I sent my son to university doing this work."

vrijdag 18 april 2014

Illegale goudzoekers moeten binnen twee weken Brownsberg Natuurpark hebben verlaten

Geduld van minister van RGB is op

Goudzoekers die niet willen vertrekken worden gearresteerd


Paramaribo - Illegale goudzoekers moeten binnen een week weg uit het Brownsberg Natuurpark. Het beschermde natuurgebied kan niet meer vernietiging aan, zegt minister Steven Relyveld van Ruimtelijke ordening Grond- en Bosbeheer, RGB. Hij bracht de boodschap persoonlijk over, aldus bericht vandaag, vrijdag 18 april 2014.

Een team van overheidsfunctionarissen en speciale eenheden van de politie bezocht de kampen van de goudzoekers aan de voet van de Brownsberg. De enorme kraters zijn stille getuigen van de voortgaande vernietiging.

Volgens de goudzoekers hebben ze geen andere keus. Een mogelijkheid is een alternatief mijngebied elders. ‘Dat is wel niet mijn aangelegenheid, maar de bescherming van Brownsberg is dat wel. Ik wil wel kijken wat we kunnen doen’, zei Relyveld tegen de goudzoekers.

Het identificeren en toewijzen van mijngebieden behoren tot de verantwoordelijkheid van het ministerie van Natuurlijke Hulpbronnen. Relyveld wil samen met dit ministerie nagaan wat er gedaan kan worden voor de goudzoekers. Maar, dat ze binnen een week moeten vertrekken, staat als een paal boven water. De commandant van het politieteam gaf de goudzoekers te kennen dat er anders zal worden opgetreden. Onwillige goudzoekers lopen het risico gearresteerd te worden. Ook zal alle werkmaterieel in beslag worden genomen, waaronder de zware graafmachines.

donderdag 17 april 2014

Amerikaanse goudmijnbedrijf Graystone Company weigert mijnbouwlocaties in Suriname bekend te maken

1e Goudwinningslocatie Graystone in Suriname (Bron foto's: Graystone)
Graystone Company start een 2e mijnbouwoperatie in Suriname

Vanwege 'veiligheidsredenen' maken Amerikanen locaties mijnen niet bekend

17-04-2014 Graystone Company

Lima, Peru - Het in het Amerikaanse Las Vegas gevestigde goudmijnbedrijf Graystone Company, dat ook en vooral actief is in Peru, heeft vandaag, donderdag 17 april 2014, bekendgemaakt dat zij een tweede goudwinningslocatie in het binnenland van Suriname gaat opzetten en dat zwaar materiaal daarvoor is gekocht uit de opbrengsten van haar al actieve mijnbouwoperatie in Suriname.

De joint venture van het bedrijf, Arara Mining, heeft een contract gesloten om te beginnen met mijnbouwoperaties op een tweede locatie in Suriname, gelegen op ongeveer zestien kilometer verwijderd van de huidige, eerste, goudwinningslocatie van het bedrijf.

Naar verwachting gaat Arara Mining binnen vijfenveertig dagen met haar werkzaamheden op de nieuwe locatie beginnen.

Voor de werkzaamheden op de nieuwe locatie heeft de joint venture twee additionele 5-ton per uur curshers gekocht en een tweede grote graafmachine.

Het bedrijf wil rond 25 april haar mijnbouwresultaten bekendmaken.

Graystone laat in haar persbericht weten dat zij gevraagd is om de exacte locaties van de goudmijnen bekend te maken. 'Maar, vanwege veiligheidsredenen heeft het bedrijf besloten om die informatie niet te onthullen.'

Op de website van het bedrijf is geen informatie te vinden over goudwinningsactiviteiten in Suriname.

woensdag 16 april 2014

Porknokkers Nieuw Koffiekamp nog steeds niet aan het werk in nieuw toegewezen werkgebied

IAmGold wacht op ministerie van NH voor aanleg weg naar werkgebied

Dreigt weer een escalatie rond Nieuw Koffiekamp.....


Paramaribo - Goudzoekers van Nieuw Koffiekamp zullen waarschijnlijk niet binnen de afgesproken tijd in hun eigen werkgebied aan het werk kunnen. Rosebel Gold Mines/IAmGold is nog niet gestart met de aanleg van de weg naar het aan de goudzoekers toegewezen terrein. Dit bericht de Ware Tijd vandaag, woensdag 16 april 2014.

De Canadese goudmijnmultinational had samen met de goudzoekers en president Desi Bouterse op 7 februari besloten, dat de lokale mensen nog drie maanden goud mochten zoeken in de concessie van het goudbedrijf. Er was toen afgesproken dat Rosebel Gold Mines/IAmGold de lokale goudzoekers zou helpen met het aanleggen van een weg van veertien kilometers lengte.

‘We zijn al naar het gebied gegaan en hebben hierover een studie gedaan. Als we nu een weg moeten aanleggen, zal dat zes weken duren’, stelt Sharmila Jadnanansing, manager van legal en corporate affairs van Rosebel Gold Mines/IAmGold.

Of het bedrijf de Koffiekampers meer dan drie maanden gaat tolereren in haar concessie is onbekend. Jadnanansing verwijst naar de afspraak van drie maanden. Zij stelt verder, dat de Rosebel Gold Mines/IAmGold op 16 maart een brief heeft gestuurd naar het ministerie van Natuurlijke Hulpbronnen, dat groen licht moet geven om te starten met de werkzaamheden. Het goudbedrijf heeft echter nog geen reactie gekregen van het ministerie.

De manager vindt niet dat de overheid laks is, ze weet namelijk dat die bezig is de zaak aan te pakken. Volgens Jadnanansing zijn de kosten begroot op 500.000 Amerikaanse dollar.

Owen Pryor, voorzitter van de lokale goudzoekersorganisatie Makamboa, wenst nog geen commentaar te geven aan de krant. ‘Wij gaan woensdag vergaderen en zullen de pers daarna te woord staan.’

vrijdag 11 april 2014

In Pictures: Digging for gold in Mali - In Pictures - Al Jazeera English

(Bron foto's: Tanya Bindra/Al Jazeera)
In Pictures: Digging for gold in Mali - In Pictures - Al Jazeera English

11-04-2014  Al Jazeera,

Workers in Mali's small-scale gold mines toil long hours in dangerous conditions for little pay

Mali is Africa's third-largest producer of gold. Much of the production in the West African country takes place at large-scale mining projects owned by foreign corporations, but a significant portion of Mali's gold sector also consists of small-scale, labour-intensive, low-wage mining.

The work in these mines is largely unregulated. Children often work alongside parents, mines frequently collapse and workers are exposed to mercury and dust without protective gear.

Despite the hardships, many people flock to the gold mines in Mali's south and west to test their luck. Many came from elsewhere in Mali or from from neighbouring counties such as Burkina Faso, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire, chasing after rumours about striking it rich.

Many parents encourage their children to work in order to contribute to household finances. Girls as young as six years old work in the mines, first coming as infants on their mothers' backs and later working in the rivers and small water holes. Meanwhile, young boys are often tasked with digging and carrying earth that may contain gold dust.

Most children in the mines do not go to school and they, as well as other workers, complain of back problems and difficulty breathing or seeing as a result of the dust. The use of mercury to extract gold is also highly hazardous as the toxic element is handled with the miners' bare hands.

Although gold prices have fallen over the past year and some large mining operations in the country have stopped or slowed production, gold mining still accounts for 20-25 percent of Mali's GDP. Nevertheless, nearly 40 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line, and Mali remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

One worker, Moussa Togola, claimed that sometimes he didn't make any money for weeks or even months, as his salary depends on the quantity of gold he finds. "I work hard every day, from sunrise to sundown. If people are making real money off of this gold, off of this work, it's certainly not me."

woensdag 9 april 2014

Belastingdienst jaagt op eigenaren skalians

Gedoogbeleid regering om belasting te kunnen innen

Overheid gaat niet over tot verwijderen goudpontons


Paramaribo - De Belastingdienst is een actie gestart tegen de houders van skalians ofwel goudpontons, de boten die op het water aan goudwinning doen, die weigeren te voldoen aan hun betalingsverplichting. Samen met de douaane en de Commissie Ordening Goudsector (COG) is vandaag, woensdag 9 april 2014, beslag gelegd op enkele vaartuigen, meldt de commissie in een persbericht.

De minster van Financien, Andy Rusland, was in hoogst eigen persoon aanwezig bij de actie van de belastingdienst, de COG en de douane. Twintig belastingambtenaren zijn de komende vier dagen in Snesi Kondre, aan de Marowijnerivier. Het is de eerste stop op zoek naar belastingplichtige skalianhouders, staat in het persbericht.

De actie volgt, nadat eerdere oproepen aan de geregistreerde skalianhouders om belasting te betalen compleet werden genegeerd. Indien een boot wordt gesignaleerd, wordt de eigenaar opgeroepen met het geld over de brug te komen. Tot die tijd blijft het vaartuig in bezit van de politie.

Het is overigens verboden om in open wateren, zoals rivieren en het stuwmeer, goud te winnen. Naast in het innen van belasting zou de overheid moeten overgaan tot het verwijderen van de varende goudpontons en eventueel het in beslag nemen en de eigenaren beboeten.

Lees ook dit interessante artikel over skalians.

Dit is echt het toppunt van gedoogbeleid: de regering weet dat het verboden is om in open wateren te mijnen. Met andere woorden: in rivieren en op het stuwmeer mag niet naar goud gezocht worden. Eigenaren van zogenoemde skalians zijn dan ook sowieso strafbaar. Maar, de overheid knijpt een oogje toe enkel en alleen om flinke sommen geld te kunnen laten innen door de Belastingdienst bij de eigenaren van de goudpontons. De Commissie Ordening Goudsector werkt hieraan mee. Dat is geen ordenen van de goudsector, maar de mogelijkheid creëren voor houders van skalians om de wet te overtreden onder toeziend oog van 'Paramaribo'.

maandag 7 april 2014

Kwik vergiftigt nog steeds Latijns Amerika - Mercury Still Poisoning Latin America

Informal gold mining is the main source of mercury emissions in Latin America. An artisanal gold miner in El Corpus, Choluteca along the Pacific ocean in Honduras. Credit: Thelma Mejía/IPSMercury Still Poisoning Latin America

07-04-2014  Inter Press Service   
MEXICO CITY, Apr 7 2014 (IPS) - Latin America is not taking the new global agreement to limit mercury emissions seriously: the hazardous metal is still widely used and smuggled in artisanal gold mining and is released by the fossil fuel industry.

After the European Union banned exports of mercury in 2011 and the United States did so in 2013, trade in the metal shot up in the region.
“Mexico’s exports have tripled in the last few years,” Ibrahima Sow, an environmental specialist in the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Climate Change and Chemicals Team, told Tierramérica. “And activities like the extraction of gold from recycled electronic goods are on the rise.”

The global treaty on mercury was adopted in October 2013. It includes a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing mines, control measures for air emissions, and the international regulation of the informal sector for artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

But of the 97 countries around the world that have signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury – including 18 from Latin America and the Caribbean – only one, the United States, has ratified it, and 49 more must do so in order for it to go into effect.

Minamata is the Japanese city that gave its name to the illness caused by severe mercury poisoning. The disease, a neurological syndrome, was first identified there in the 1950s.
It was eventually discovered that it was caused by the release of methylmercury in the industrial wastewater from a chemical plant run by the Chisso Corporation. The local populace suffered from mercury poisoning after eating fish and shellfish containing a build-up of this neurotoxic, carcinogenic chemical.

The contamination occurred between 1932 and 1968. As of 2001, 2,265 victims had been officially recognised; at least 100 of them died as a result of the disease.

In Latin America, mercury is used in artisanal gold mining and hospital equipment. And emissions are produced by the extraction, refining, transport and combustion of hydrocarbons; thermoelectric plants; and steelworks.
It is also smuggled in a number of countries.

“It is hard to quantify the illegal imports,” Colombia’s deputy minister of the environment and sustainable development, Pablo Vieira, told Tierramérica. “Everyone knows that artisanal and small-scale mining uses smuggled mercury, mainly coming in from Peru and Ecuador, although hard data is not available.”

According to Colombia’s authorities, the mercury is smuggled through the jungle in the country’s remote border zones.

Mercury Watch, an international alliance which keeps a global database, estimated Latin America’s mercury emissions at 526 tonnes in 2010, with Colombia in the lead, accounting for 180 tonnes.

In an assessment published in 2013, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimated that mercury emissions caused by human activities reached 1,960 tonnes in 2010, with artisanal mining as the main source (727 tonnes), followed by the burning of coal, principally from power generation and industrial use.

Artisanal gold mining is practised in at least a dozen Latin American countries, largely in the Andean region and the Amazon rainforest, but in Central America as well, UNEP reports.
Some 500,000 small-scale gold miners drive the legal or illegal demand for mercury.

Mexico and Peru have mercury deposits, but there is no formal primary mercury mining in the region. The extraction is secondary, because the mercury tends to be mixed with other minerals, or comes from the recycling of mercury already extracted and used for other purposes.

The biggest producers are Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, while the main consumers and legal importers are Peru, Colombia and Panama.

In 2012 Mexico, Argentina and Colombia headed the regional list of exporters of mercury and products containing the metal, according to Mercury Watch.

Mercury is naturally present in certain rocks, and can be found in the air, soil and water as a result of industrial emissions.
Bacteria and other microorganisms convert mercury to methylmercury, which can accumulate in different animal species, especially fish.

Mining industry laws in Bolivia, Costa Rica and Honduras ban the use of mercury.

And last year Colombia passed a law that would phase out mercury in mining over the next five years and in industry over the next 10 years.

Since November 2013, the Peruvian Congress has also been debating a draft law to eliminate mercury in mining and replace it in industrial activities.

According to UNEP, there were a total of 11 chlor-alkali plants operating with mercury technology in seven countries in the region in 2012. But several of the factories plan to adopt mercury-free technologies by 2020.

“The mercury content in products, the replacement of mercury, and the temporary storage and final disposal of mercury waste are significant aspects of mercury management,” Raquel Lejtreger, undersecretary in Uruguay’s ministry of housing, territorial planning and environment, told Tierramérica.

Uruguay imports products that contain mercury. But a mercury cell chlor-alkali plant operating in the South American country plans to convert to mercury-free technology, although financing to do so is needed.

GEF has provided funds to Uruguay and other countries in the region for the negotiation of the global treaty on mercury and for the adoption of alternative, mercury-free technologies. But there is still a long way to go.

This story was originally published Apr. 5 by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network.