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The launch of a gold mining impacts calculator this week — a joint project of the Federal Public Ministry and the Conservation Strategy Fund — marks a big step forward in combating illegal mining in the Brazilian Amazon, experts and government agents say.
The new tool was able to estimate damages of $431 million caused by illegal mining in 2020 on the Yanomami Indigenous Reserve, where local leaders have reported several attacks in the past month by miners, following an influx of mining activities since 2019.
Since 2019, Brazil has exported $11 billion in gold, with Switzerland, Canada and the United Kingdom as the top importers; last year alone, these three countries imported $3.5 billion of the precious metal from Brazil.
Improving traceability is another important step to cracking down on the environmentally devastating illegal gold market, says Sérgio Leitão, an expert in the fight against illegal mining in Brazil.