The Peruvian Government, led by President Ollanta Humala, plans to invest $35m in strengthening the development of the Madre de Dios region in the south-eastern part of the country, which has been affected by illegal mining operations.

Humala was quoted by Andina as saying: "We are creating a development fund with PEN100m ($35m), we are evaluating the creation of a comprehensive project for Madre de Dios, because we want to recover our Amazon."

Humala claimed that illegal mining has destroyed a large portion of the Amazon rainforest and caused mercury contamination, and added that the development projects will help preserve the Amazon rainforest.

"We have to save the Amazon….we have to protect the interests of our children," said Humala.

According to a study by the US-based Carnegie Institution for Science, more than 32 tonnes of mercury is dumped into the rivers in Madre de Dios each year.

"We have to save the Amazon….we have to protect the interests of our children."

Since July 2011, the Peruvian Government has been seeking to formalise illegal gold miners in the country and made an attempt to control the flow of fuel, chemicals and machinery to illegal mines operating in the Amazon jungle, and banned exports of illegally produced gold.

In March this year, a deal was signed between the Peruvian Government and miners to accelerate and simplify the formalisation process, following a week-long protest by miners in ten of the 24 regions.

However, the attempt has fallen short of expectations, with up to 40,000 of 110,000 illegal miners failing to legalise their status by the 19 April deadline.

Image: Manú National Park, a biosphere reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo: courtesy of As578.