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Latin American Gold Rush Pollutes Amazon


A new gold rush is sweeping through Latin America with devastating consequences, ravaging tropical forests and dumping toxic chemicals as illegal miners fight against big international projects. To extract an ounce of gold takes two or three ounces of mercury, which fouls waterways after being poured into rivers from the mining sites. Over 160 mining conflicts have erupted across the region amid growing opposition from locals against projects they consider a threat to the environment, the Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Latin America says. Unlicensed mining, especially for gold, has already killed hundreds of people and devastated thousands of acres in the Amazon forest, where miners have set up camps that destroy everything in their path. In their search for water, the miners raze tropical forests using bulldozers.