Peru starts regulating illegal gold mining operations

21 April 2014 (Last Updated April 21st, 2014 18:30)

The Peruvian Government has started regulating gold miners in an effort to prevent environmental pollution and loss of revenues.

The Peruvian Government has started regulating gold miners in an effort to prevent environmental pollution and loss of revenues.

Previous attempt have fallen short of expectations, with up to 40,000 of 110,000 illegal miners failing to legalise their status.

Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying: "The process was a success."

President Ollanta Humala's government said that miners could continue their operations if they formalise the process and legalise their status.

Former army officer leading the task, Daniel Urresti, was quoted by the International Daily as saying that the government has taken a carrot-and-stick approach to illegal mining.

"This is a problem that has been going on over the last 40 years and that multiplied 20 years ago."

"This is a problem that has been going on over the last 40 years and that multiplied 20 years ago," Urresti said.

"Every government has looked the other way, while the problem has grown."

Urresti added that the unregistered miners who are operating in regions where mining is allowed will have to legalise their operations by 2016.

A deal was signed by the Peruvian Government and miners in March, to speed-up and simplify the formalisation process.

The agreement came following a week-long protest by miners in ten of the 24 regions, which left two people dead and 40 injured.

The Peruvian Government, led by President Ollanta Humala, initiated the process to formalise the informal miners in July 2011.

To date, the government has tried to control the flow of fuel, chemicals and machinery to illegal mines operating in the Amazon jungle and banned exports of gold produced illegally.

Illegal mining operators produced about 12% of Peru's 161t gold output in 2012 and is worth an estimated $3bn a year, according to bnamericas.com.

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