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Deforestation

The deforestation and massive excavations severely damage the landscape and destroy many agricultural fields.

Erosion is a common result of deforestation. The original biodiversity does not match with the industrial mining sites and gradually disappears. Upon the closure of a open pit mine, the mining companies often leave the industrial site behind without taking up the responsibility to restore the original natural environment. They do not come up with solutions to rehabilitate the mining site; neither do they try to discharge the mining waste properly. As a consequence, many regions that have first been terrorized during many years by the exploitation of a mine end up with a crater full of poisonous waste. Some companies claim to have restored the natural balance by planting forests. Yet, this is not a structural solution. Once the roots of the newly planted trees reach the acid soil, they will no longer be viable and die. The original natural richness is thus completely destroyed and nothing but a barren arid surface is left behind.

According to the WWF, the deforestation in Guyana was tripled between 2000 and 2008. Every year, 3,400 tons of mercury are discharged in free nature as a direct consequence of gold mining. The ecosystem, including the health of humans and animals, is thus severely threatened. Guyana now faces the risk of losing its unique mangroves and ‘dry evergreen’ forests. At present, bigger parts of the tropical forests have already disappeared. As a considerable number of artisanal gold mining operations are illegal, it is very complex to establish a controlling system that can delimit further deforestation.

Erosion, coexisting with deforestation, results not only in the pollution of the soil by means of toxins, but also impedes the normal and natural rehabilitation of forests. It will take a huge time investment in order to restore natural ecosystems.