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3/2/11

Two from Peru's Madre De Dios golden cesspool

1) Hey, remember a couple of weeks back when Peru's government made world headlines by clamping donw on the illegal dredging for gold in the Madre De Dios (MDD)? How it blew up the ships that were dredging for gold-rich sands, throwing the mercury contaminated waters straight back and generally screwing up the entire ecosystem? And that bit about how it was planning on destroying 300 illegal dredging operations? Yeah well, this is Peru where money talks and governmental bullshit walks, so yesterday after getting rid of just 35 of these disgusting machines the whole operation was halted after a 5000 strong demo of locals that wants the dredging to continue was met full on by government armed forces on the new Transoceanic highway and the clashes left two dead and many injured.

2) Via Setty, an excellent report from the UK Daily Telegraph (a rarity in itself) about the life in gold rush MDD. This is must-read material but here's the same excerpt Setty used in his post. As he said, stomach-churning.
She was speaking from a refuge, the only one of its type in the area; only 72 girls have made it here since October 2008. It is a simple wooden building on a side street in the chaotic town of Mazuko, the main entry point into the Madre de Dios region, a couple of blocks away from the highway. It was late in the evening and Teresa was waiting impatiently for her parents to arrive from Lima to pick her up.
‘I was lost, I didn’t know where I was,’ she continued. ‘At night everything is dark, there are no lampposts or anything. The policeman told me that it was a miracle that I had escaped because no one can usually; they rape you and throw you in the jungle.’
Hey folks, don't forget that 15% of all the gold produced in Peru comes out of MDD....and that's just the legal production that's registered with the Mining Ministry.

¡Viva Investment Grade Peru!