Illicit gold mined from the Amazon finds its way into supply chains
When the first Olympic Games in South America were held, Brazil was the host country that received the teams in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, boasting that the gold used in the winners' medals helped the environment, since they were not manufactured. with no silver or mercury and the material used was recycled from the x-ray sheets and also from discarded mirrors, AP News reported.
After half a decade after the games, the company that manufactures this gold; Marsam currently processes the gold that is purchased by prestigious companies for moderate use and without harm to planet earth. Among the companies that have obtained this material are Amazon, Microsoft and Tesla, who politically must acquire metals responsibly, since the industry has been undermined by environmental and labor concerns.
Although all of the above sounds fantastic, The Associated Press company carried out an in-depth investigation in which they reported that Marsam, based in Sao Pablo, transforms gold for a broker who has been accused by the Brazilian prosecutor's office of acquiring illegally extracted gold. coming from indigenous lands, as well as from other areas that are in the heart of the Amazon and have a property association with the jungle.
Likewise, the AP has previously reported on this case that the acquisition of illicit gold on indigenous lands has increased significantly in recent years, where illegal landing strips have been planned within the jungle so that planes that are not authorized can move heavy equipment, as well as fuel and even backhoes to drill the earth and find the precious mineral.
However, the lack of vigilance on the part of Jair Bolsonaro's mandate is harshly criticized, as he has only aggravated the problem of illegal mining of said mineral in protected areas. Likewise, the same critics are those who judge an international certification program, since the manufacturers boast of said certification where it is "validated" that they do not use gold from indigenous areas, since they point out that these areas practice money laundering.
According to Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Basel in Switzerland, Mark Pieth “There is no real traceability as long as the industry relies on self-regulation. People know where the gold comes from, but they don't bother to go far back in the supply chain because they know they will come into contact with all kinds of criminal activity."
As such, irregularly sourced ore has seeped into the supply chain and is mixed with clean gold so that it cannot be easily distinguished.
The gold nuggets are extracted from the jungle and later carried to the pockets of the explorers in the nearest city where they are finally sold to financial brokers. The requirements for the process of transformation of the raw ore is the negotiable asset that is regulated by the central bank and documented by hand, where the specific point of the jungle where the gold was extracted is certified.
Finally, the gold reaches the hands of Dirceu Frederico Sobrinho, who without shame or dissimulation shows off his jewels, pointing out that: "You don't motivate someone to go to the forest if they are not chasing a dream," he said in a rare interview from his corner office. studded with a giant jade eagle. "Whoever trades gold has that: they dream, they believe, they like it."
Likewise, Sobrinho added that: “We have a saying among the garimpeiros: 'I am a pawn, but I am a golden pawn'”.
In August 2021, Brazilian prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against F.D'Gold, which is the largest buyer of gold in Brazil. The buyer acquired the ore for $361 million from 251 wild places, reported by the mining regulator. Likewise, the lawsuit was against two other brokers, and the objective of this is to immediately suspend these illicit activities and that they pay 1.800 million dollars to “compensate” the environmental and social damages.
In this sense, the lawsuit reflects that said companies have not taken the measures to prevent illegal mining extraction, with a total of 4,3 metric tons in protected areas and in indigenous territories where the extraction of minerals is prohibited.
Dirceu pointed out that his company complies with the law and has applied extra controls, however he acknowledged that the gold purchased and its origin are not "exact" at present. Just as he proposed a digital record in the industry to improve clarity.
Although the case is still under development, according to a study revealed by the Federal University of Minas Gerais, it found that up to 28% of the gold that was produced in Brazil during 2019 and 2020 was extracted illegally. And to arrive at these results, the researchers evaluated 17,400 transactions reported by the government by F.D'Gold as well as other buyers, in order to identify the exact location from which the gold was extracted.
In most cases, the location came from places not authorized for the extraction of the mineral and through satellite images the identifying signs of the mining activity, such as deforestation, were not reflected, thus deducing that the gold extracted was from places not fit and protected.
Author: Natasha Palís 11:00 am