The Devastating Effects Of Gold Mining

The Devastating Effects Of Gold Mining

Gold is one of the most precious metals in
the world, and has run the gamut from its use as currency, to jewelry, and even to electronic
plating, and infrared shielding. But for many people the cost far outweighs
its intrinsic value. Seeker Stories went to South America to learn
about some of the worst exploitation, both human and environmental. Check it out. Gold is maybe the most universal shorthand
there is for value, and for greed. The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with it. European explorers marauded through South
America in search of it. And American cities like San Francisco and
Seattle rose to prominence because of it. It’s a big part of our history as humans. Looking at all that, our obsession with gold
also seems historical, sort of old timey – but that’s not at all true. There’s still huge demand for it today – the
recession of 2008 helped gold quadruple in value. And a full half of all the gold mined in the
world has been mined in the past 50 years. But what is different about gold today is
how we get it. What happens in gold producing areas is not
what we imagine where somebodies in a cave, using a chisel and a hammer to get these big
golden nuggets. That’s Diego, a photojournalist who spent
some time in Cajamarca, Peru near a modern gold mine. Actually, not just any gold mine…the largest
in all of Latin America. And modern mining looks very different than
it used to. most of the gold that we are mining now comes
in the forms of little specks of sand, little flakes mixed in with dirt. a lot of these companies are using open pit
mines to grab as much dirt as possible and then they process it with different chemicals Those chemicals are cyanide, arsenic, and
mercury…basically a laundry list of things you want to keep far away from people. But the mining process creates a lot of waste
water laced with those pollutants. And up in the Andes mountains, the water doesn’t
stay put. when you take a mining operation and you put
it on top of a mountain, the water as we all know, only follows gravity, it goes down in
every direction, And therein lies the problem. According to Diego, poisoned water has seeped
throughout the region, causing stomach cancer in people, illnesses in livestock, and decimated
fish populations. And the people of Cajamarca, who were promised
new wealth from the mining economy, haven’t all seen a benefit. they see water that is contaminated and economic
opportunities that haven’t really changed for them. [0:30] quality of life has remained the same
for many of these people without any of the profits you would assume a gold mine would
bring to a region And so the people have done the one thing
they’re able to do about the mines: protest. They’re pushing back against foreign corporate
influence, ruined natural resources…and a history that somehow never has seemed to
change for them. they’ve been exploited for about 500 years
now, ever since the spanish arrived and started taking the Incan’s gold. the same story happens wherever you have resource
extraction projects. it’s a dirty industry which makes private
profits and public disasters. For Diego, it all comes back to the value
of gold. As expensive as gold is right now, after visiting
Cahamarca Diego sees it as undervalued. Dangerously so. i realized that gold is cheap because we pay
to it through the lives of people who live in gold producing areas, through the lives
of people who live in Cajamarca. This is video’s part of a short series we’re
doing on protest movements around the world. To get a peek behind the front lines of a
movement called black bloc, click now. If you want to see more in depth content like
this, check out Seeker Stories. They’ll take you around the world sharing
the stories that surprise, challenge and inspire you – like this one about a company that is
revolutionizing sustainable energy with an unexpected resource. Please make sure to like and subscribe to
Seeker Stories for more webdocs. Thanks for watching!


  1. This isn't remotely factual. All of the harmful chemicals used in the processing of gold are neutralized before being treated and then reintegrated into the environment. Not to mention the company's are required by law to reclaim the land and restore it to its original beauty. Clearly a hit piece. Disheartening to see journalism standards dropped so low.

  2. Human beings are a renewable resource.

    Gold is not.

    Therefore, gold is much more valuable than human beings (per ounce or any other calculable measure).

    Always has been.

    Its unfortunate.

  3. "public disasters"
    I guess because the state does it better, just like the oil spills by petroperu(a state-owned company)which the left turns a blind eye on.

  4. If anyone is wondering, the song at 2:17 is from a game called Valiant Hearts: The Great War. I would recommend playing it.

  5. An important distinction. Mining Companies compete with "Artisan Miners" whom utilize and release mercury and cianide into local water sources because thats all they can afford to do.. We need to find a balance where either Artisan Miners raise the Millions it takes to build a proper operation or at least hire more local to operate Mining Corps.

  6. 20 years ago when i was 10 I sall a show about africa dimon mining. a guy gave a boy 10 dollars to jump in a pond of Mercury which ever out of the 5 boys got the most dimions in 10 mins got the money. it was so sickening i swor i would never get jewelry when i grow up. live by it my hole life.

  7. take all the gold statues out of "houses of worship" and melt them down.  that would help a bit.  "people of god" shouldn't be concerned with things of the material any how, and what good does a statue do?  it just sits there, doing no one any practical good.  it's essentially a great big knick-knack.  a dust collector.

  8. I have worked with gold mines as an engineer in the past, and i can tell you that it doesn't need to be this bad. There are processes for removing chemicals from the water and containing or even reusing them. The reason these methods aren't often used is because the companies can get away without having to spend the extra cash to do this. This is, in my opinion, the most important thing that needs to be done to fix this problem: hold the companies responsible for their actions. Make them accountable, on a global scale.

    Gold isn't the issue: the corporate world, and the fact that corporations have to serve their stockholders first and foremost is the problem. Change that way of thinking, and you'll solve a whole lot of other environmental disasters at the same time.

  9. But if Gold is still undervalued, that means its price should still rise, which would give more incentive to extract gold in this manner.

  10. Dislike, just a one sided opinion. You should ask the people, not the neo comunist brain washers that are called popular leaders

  11. You can sh*t on someone's lawn and go to jail. Yet, who goes to prison for polluting and poisonings the resources these people need?!?

  12. Well, don't worry. The civilized world has been plundering that village for 500 years, now. That gold reserve is bound to run out soon.

  13. Well, Now I realise the world is just fucked in general now. Whatever we do, we always manage to damage something in the process.

  14. Seeker daily are never going to fulfil these "petitions" cause half of their views come from these idiots who only click on the video to "petition"

  15. Well… Gold is needed. It's not even just a matter of hording gold in a giant safe to help one's currency. It's needed. Medicine, better electronics… it's definitely needed.

    We can't blame the miners, they're just doing a job they need money. We can't blame the companies, not entirely. They're job is to make money with as little expense as possible.

    It's about a lack of regulation and oversight.

  16. Hello. Regarding gold mining and cyanide processing: In recent years there have been protests and a lot of turmoil in Romania regarding the Rosia Montana gold mine in Transylvania. The situation is similar to that in Cajamarca, but thankfully the project was never approved and the environment is safe for now. If you're interested, this is a story about widespread corruption, international influence on national law making (Canadian gold corp. paying parliament representatives), the power of peaceful protest (we went to the streets in the thousands, for many weeks), media censorship (while the streets of many big cities were full of protesters, the media almost never reported it). Hope this catches your eye. Thanks for all of your wonderful journalism!

  17. fuck spanish people!!!!
    They are the biggest devil follower thats why they ex polite throughout the globe for search of treasure and destroy the nature and wealth of the country!!!! fuck off west europe !!!!!

  18. What a fair and balanced look not at all pushing any agenda! You can tell it isnt just pushing a narrative because they give both sides and opportunity to speak.

    Yup totally fair!

  19. It's same as shale oil industry. 85% underground water of USA haven been polluted. Shale gas development requires the use of fracturing, fracturing fluid containing chemical composition. Since underground water of whole continent plate are connected, Mexican cancer cases are increasing dramatically in recent years.
    It's not joke. we must pay attention to the treading.

  20. All this over a useless shiny rock. Does anyone actually want gold to keep? or does everyone just want it to sell it to someone else…..

  21. and then to think that most of the gold is just stored in saves today… at least the ancient Egyptians, Hindus, Buddhists etc used it to enhance the beauty of the temples and homes they constructed..

  22. Other countries like America and Europe take other poor countries goods like diamond and even gold ,the poor counties can become rich and not be in poverty no more but the other counties don't want that to happen and steal from them.

  23. If you know anything about gold mining you know you don't need to use toxic chemicals to process gold bearing dirt, it can be done with just water and the proper equipment. Toxic chemicals are usually used in in 3rd world nations because its cheaper, easier, and no laws preventing its use.

  24. there are tons of gold and and every natural resource you can think of in space. Why not mine their? i know its expensive but dam we are killing our only habitable world is that not the same as burning your house with you inside?

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