Gold and diamonds fail to shine as drivers of Amazon development

Gold and diamonds fail to shine as drivers of Amazon development

An analysis of social and economic parameters in gold and diamond mining regions in the Brazilian Amazon shows that these activities have done little to boost development for locals. The findings, from a new study by the Instituto Escolhas, a sustainability think tank, add a new layer to the discussion of whether mining brings positive impacts to the areas where it takes place. The “economic development” argument is typically at the top of the list when developers and governments try to justify new mining projects, often ignoring the social and environmental costs that will last for decades. When such benefits occur, they do so for only a limited period of time, according to the Escolhas analysis, based on propensity score matching of various parameters. After this, the local population is left to deal with chronic problems arising from the mining operations, which fail to provide the promised results. “Our study confirms that gold and diamond extraction do not manage to break an economic dynamic based on the usurpation of regional natural resources, leaving a trail of poverty and environmental destruction behind it,” says study coordinator Larissa Rodrigues. The researchers looked at all the municipalities inside Brazil’s Amazonian states where gold or diamonds were mined between 2005 and 2016. They then compared these 73 municipalities against others in the same region where no mining activity had taken place, looking at parameters like health, education and per capita GDP. They found that in the mining municipalities, any improvements to these parameters are…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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