Hundreds of hectares of pristine rainforest destroyed by illegal mining in Venezuela

Over 1,200 hectares of pristine rainforest in Venezuela’s southern Bolívar state have been destroyed by unregulated mining operations and other illegal activities taking place within the so-called Orinoco Mining Arc.

In a recent report, local NGO FundaRedes denounced the disorderly exploitation of the Arc and blamed the Nicolás Maduro administration for the environmental disaster, which is said to be promoted from the top down “to cover the income deficit caused by the oil crisis, the dismantling of basic industries and failed economic policies.”

The Mining Arc of the Orinoco River National Development Strategic Zone was created by decree on February 24, 2016, and is a 111,843-square-kilometre concession area for mining gold, diamond, iron ore, copper, bauxite, and coltan, among other resources. The Arc is larger than the whole territory of Portugal and represents 12.2% of Venezuela’s landmass.

“FundaRedes has repeatedly denounced the massive clear-cutting of trees, which is carried out in the OMA in order to prepare the ground for the construction of illegal runways, used for the takeoff and landing of aircraft involved in drug trafficking and mineral smuggling operations,” the report reads.



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