You will remember the story of Alibaba’s Forty Thieves and Open Sim Sim, how gold deposits are discovered there and then Alibaba becomes a billionaire overnight. But that was a story.
Now you may be surprised to learn from an original study that images taken from space have revealed gold deposits in the Amazon rainforest. In these pictures, these gold deposits look like rivers of real gold.
The US space agency NASA has published some amazing images of the rainforests of the Amazon in Peru which have revealed gold mines. According to NASA, the “rivers of gold” appearing in the images are actually pits that are believed to have been dug by illegal miners.
These pits are usually hidden from view, but in sunlight they appear to glow in the pictures.
The images were taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station in December.
The images show that gold mines are being destroyed in the Madere de Devos area of southern Peru. Peru is currently the largest exporter of gold, while its territory has the status of an ‘unregulated industry’ for the thousands of miners from whom they seek to earn.
The area is a center of biodiversity, and its excavations have led to widespread deforestation and the destruction of important wildlife habitats.
Mining is also affecting the local population, as many tons of mercury are used in the gold search. Scientists say much of it is dumped into rivers or left unattended.
According to NASA, where these miners are looking for gold, hundreds of basins appear to be full of water. There is soil around it from which the plants have been removed.
These mines go beyond the old river channels where many minerals are found.
Some parts of the area are home to monkeys, leopards and butterflies. Scientists believe that mining is a major cause of deforestation.
According to a January 2019 study, gold mining in Peru in 2018 caused an estimated 22,930 acres of Amazon deforestation in Peru.
Pleased with the rising price of gold, people in local communities who are often left out now see mining as a source of employment. In 2012, an estimated 30,000 small-scale miners were operating in the lush region.
In La Pampa, another part of Peru, the government halted gold exploration almost a decade later and evicted about 5,000 miners.