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Guiana’s living treasures are more valuable than gold

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The rainforest in French Guiana is endangered by gold mining

Τhe industry ministry in Paris recently issued a gold mining permit for an area in the middle of Guiana Amazonian Park in French Guiana. Yet the residents of the affected rainforest village Saül are voicing their protest together with environmentalists and researchers.

The greed for gold is already threatening the pristine environment of the French overseas region in South America: Thousands of prospectors are digging up the French Guianese jungle and river sediments in search of the precious metal, polluting the region and destroying its ecosystems.

To counter this, the authorities put a mining land use plan in place in January 2012 that expressly prohibits mining in areas like Guiana Amazonian Park.
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Greece Sees Gold Boom, but at a Price

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TK DASY THESOLONIKIIERISSOS, Greece — In the forest near here, bulldozers have already begun flattening hundreds of acres for an open pit gold mine and a processing plant, which Canada’s Eldorado Gold Corporation hopes to open within two years. Eldorado has reopened other mining operations around here, too, digging for gold, copper, zinc and lead from nearby hills.

For some residents, all this activity, which promises perhaps 1,500 jobs by 2015, is a blessing that could pump some life into the dismal economy of the surrounding villages in this rural northeast region of Greece.

But for hundreds of others, who have mounted repeated protests, the new mining operation is nothing more than a symbol of Greece’s willingness these days to accept any development, no matter the environmental cost. Only 10 years ago, they like to point out, Greece’s highest court ruled that the amount of environmental damage that mining would do here was not worth the economic gain. (more…)