Environment

Brazil’s gold trade is toxic, but it doesn’t have to be that way

Researchers have only been able to confirm the legal origin of around one-third of the gold mined in Brazil, with loose oversight (based on good faith) leaving the door open to abuse

gold trade brazil transparency
Wildcat gold mining in Peixoto de Azevedo, Mato Grosso. Photo: Lalo de Almeida/Folhapress

It is no secret that Brazil’s gold trade is rife with illegal mining. Gold was the state of Roraima’s second-largest export in 2019, despite not being home to any legal gold mines. This year, an investigative report by Repórter Brasil linked the supply chains of several Big Tech companies back to Brazilian gold refiners that have been investigated for purchasing illegally mined gold.

A 2021 study by researchers from the Federal University of Minas Gerais was able to confirm the legal origin of just 34 percent of gold mined in Brazil. 

Meanwhile, sustainability think tank Instituto Escolhas found that...

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