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Peruvian president says fight against illegal mining in Amazon ongoing

Staff Writer | March 18, 2019
Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra shared a video on his social media channels where he announces that authorities are going to have a permanent presence in the Amazon to guard against the development of illegal mining activities.
Martín Vizcarra
LatAm   Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra
Earlier in the year, his administration launched Operation Mercury in the southeastern Madre de Dios department.

The initiative involved the deployment of almost 1,600 people between military, police and prosecution personnel in the Amazonian region.

The officers were instructed to destroy illegal mining camps, halt operations and detain gold panners.

In total, 72 camps were destroyed, 88 people were detained, 52 victims of slavery were freed, and 247 engines, 64 dredges, 76 boats and close to $19.7 million were seized.

Official information reveals that, in just 10 years, over 11,000 hectares of the Peruvian Amazon have been destroyed by illegal mining.

Artisanal operations in the area have been reported since the 1970s, however, the Environmental Justice Atlas states that in recent years they have grown in size and intensity and are posing severe threats to the Bahuaja Sonene National Park and the Tambopata Natural Reserve, two particularly fragile ecosystems with one of the highest biodiversities in the area.