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News > Colombia

Mining Affects 31% of Indigenous Territories in the Amazon

  • Mining activity in the National Park, Para State, Brazil, Oct 27, 2020.

    Mining activity in the National Park, Para State, Brazil, Oct 27, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 October 2020

Loosening of environmental regulations and an increase in illegal mining have devastated protected areas

Ecuador’s scientific organization Ecociencia published “Mining Rights: Indigenous Land and Mining in the Amazon”, a report showing that the mining industry has affected 31 percent of the Indigenous territories in the Amazon rainforest.


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The boom in resource extraction affects 1,131 indigenous territories in the Amazon basin. At least 370 of those territories are currently invaded by illegal miners in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

Given that the bulk of the affected territories corresponds to concessions granted by governments, the Ecuadorian organization lists out a series of policy recommendations.

“We must strengthen indigenous peoples’ rights to their land and resources, as well as “establishing and complying with social and environmental protections according to international standards”, Ecociencia stressed.

Environmental defenders also called for governments to  "monitor much more consistently, in a professional and specialized manner, the mining operations taking place on protected areas and indigenous territories” and “increase their efforts to identify and punish those who facilitate illegal mining practices”.

About 143,000 square kilometers in the Amazon region are active concessions and illegal mining sites, according to Ecociencia, which also pointed out the massive increase in so-called small-scale or artisanal mining.

For example, in 2016, its estimated that up to 77 percent of gold extracted from Ecuador was extracted illegally within Indigenous territories. 

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