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Story Publication logo February 25, 2011

Guerrilla Mining in Guiana's Midst

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As jittery investors have sought safe-haven investments in gold during the recession, the metal's...

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Gendarmes from France have been deployed in Guiana to patrol for illegal miners. Image by Narayan Mahon, French Guiana, 2010.
Gendarmes from France have been deployed in Guiana to patrol for illegal miners. Image by Narayan Mahon, French Guiana, 2010.

https://www.cbc.ca/video/news/audioplayer.html?clipid=1814719940

In the jungles of French Guiana, on the northern border of Brazil, police and illegal gold miners play this game.

Police raid them and blow up their equipment. Soon as they leave, the miners replace it all, and go back to work.

What makes their game worthwhile is the soaring price of gold, which has surged in recent years to more than fourteen-hundred dollars an ounce.

Also soaring is the amount of toxic mercury they're spewing into the air. Fifty tons a year, and counting. Police are being dispatched all the way from France to try and interrupt the wildcat mining.

American journalist Damon Tabor slogged his way into the jungle to see them and the miners firsthand, and writes about it in this month's edition of Harper's Magazine

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