Bronze / 2018 / Press / Nature/Environmental

DREDGES

  • Prize
    Bronze in Press/Nature/Environmental
  • Photographer
    ERNESTO BENAVIDES

Seen from above, the Amazon resembles a huge billiards table, a field of intense green pockmarked by brown stains. These are the sites of illegal mines, and they reveal the scope of a gold rush that threatens the lungs of the planet. “The loss of our natural resources in incalculable” says Antonio Fernandez Jeri, Peru’s high commissioner on illegal mining. “Each lost hectare represents unique flora and fauna species”. Those sites are in the Madre de Dios region, where approximately 150,000 acres of forest have already been lost due to illegal mining. Peru leads South America in gold production and ranks fifth globally, but authorities there say 20 percent of its exported gold, comes from these clandestine mines. But this mining, which first began in the 1980s, extends beyond Peru. In every Amazon country, the largest forest in the world is being slowly eaten away by an explosion of tiny unreported mines.