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Gold Mining in the Amazon Region of Ecuador: History and a Review of Its Socio-Environmental Impacts

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Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
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Research Group YASUNI-SDC, Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo, Sede Orellana, El Coca 20001, Ecuador
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Green Amazon, Research Center, Nueva Loja 210150, Ecuador
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Department of Economics, Statistics and Finance, University of Calabria, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende, Italy
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Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo, Sede Orellana, El Coca 220001, Ecuador
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Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo, Sede Morona Santiago, M. Santiago 140105, Ecuador
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alberto Matarán Ruiz
Land 2022, 11(2), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020221
Received: 31 December 2021 / Revised: 24 January 2022 / Accepted: 30 January 2022 / Published: 1 February 2022
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and large-scale mining in the Ecuadorian Amazon region is potentially harmful to nature, and its impacts are associated with environmental degradation and deterioration of people’s health. So far, limited efforts have been directed at exploring the current situation and challenges facing the implementation of environmental policies in the country. The objective of this study focused on analyzing the historical and current situation and challenges of ASGM in the Amazon region of Ecuador in relation to a political perspective (laws), socioeconomic impacts (population displacement, loss of livelihoods, migration of people, cost of living, water scarcity, and health impacts), and environmental impacts (biotic and abiotic). The methodology used was based on a literature review and interviews, and information that was discussed through an expert judgment allowed for establishing challenges to improve ASGM management. The main results indicate that lack of community participation in decision-making, insufficient coordination between government institutions, communities, and miners, and lack of control of mining activities are factors that contribute to ineffective compliance with environmental policies in the gold mining sector in the Amazon. Finally, the study concludes by considering the socioeconomic and environmental scopes within its findings for implementing effective environmental and social policies in the Amazon region of Ecuador. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; gold; socio-environmental impacts; environmental management; political management; environmental management mercury; gold; socio-environmental impacts; environmental management; political management; environmental management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mestanza-Ramón, C.; Cuenca-Cumbicus, J.; D’Orio, G.; Flores-Toala, J.; Segovia-Cáceres, S.; Bonilla-Bonilla, A.; Straface, S. Gold Mining in the Amazon Region of Ecuador: History and a Review of Its Socio-Environmental Impacts. Land 2022, 11, 221. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020221

AMA Style

Mestanza-Ramón C, Cuenca-Cumbicus J, D’Orio G, Flores-Toala J, Segovia-Cáceres S, Bonilla-Bonilla A, Straface S. Gold Mining in the Amazon Region of Ecuador: History and a Review of Its Socio-Environmental Impacts. Land. 2022; 11(2):221. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020221

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mestanza-Ramón, Carlos, Jefferson Cuenca-Cumbicus, Giovanni D’Orio, Jeniffer Flores-Toala, Susana Segovia-Cáceres, Amanda Bonilla-Bonilla, and Salvatore Straface. 2022. "Gold Mining in the Amazon Region of Ecuador: History and a Review of Its Socio-Environmental Impacts" Land 11, no. 2: 221. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020221

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