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By Gary McMahon

"Mining exploration funding within the Latin American and Caribbean zone has elevated a hundred thirty percentage within the final 5 years, a determine which raises to 500 percentage, if Chile is excluded." Governments have remodeled mining laws to permit deepest funding whereas changing into extra delicate to environmental elements. In gentle of this laws, this document examines the environmental results of artisanal, small, and medium mines in 3 Latin American international locations: Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. 4 of an important parts to be thought of are: • The age of the mine • administration of tailings • The heterogeneity of the artisanal and small mine sectors • The expanding have to take cultural concerns under consideration within the determination making method. The paper includes result of the reviews at the a number of mining sectors, technique and coverage thoughts, and nation research summaries.

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Additional resources for An environmental study of artisanal, small, and medium mining in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, Volumes 23-429

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Nevertheless, there are significant environmental problems in the medium mining sector (MMS) in all three countries. Most of these are due to abandoned stocks of tailings and the related problem of mine closure, poorly maintained tailings ponds, competition for scarce water resources and highly polluting smelters. The most serious environmental problems of the MMS in the three countries are related to inadequate storage of tailings. At times these are dumped directly into rivers. More often they are stored in poorly constructed tailings ponds and dams, resulting in acid rock drainage (ARD) into the river systems and groundwater.

While part of this may be due to the desire to get in and out as quickly as possible due to the uncertainty of tenure over the deposits, there certainly is a role for technical assistance supported by the government. However, such assistance should be highly selective and of a cost recovery nature wherever possible. One of the worst policies that can be followed is to prolong the life of highly polluting and economically unviable mining activities. 11 For example, in Peru miners often borrow from quimbalateros and in return are required to use this concentration technique, despite the existence of cleaner and cheaper methods.

The most important externalities of ASM may not be the long-run environmental damage but the irreversible nature of cultural damage due to entry or invasion of sensitive tribal lands. While this problem is also associated with medium and large scale mining, the problem can be particularly severe if there is a large scale invasion of small miners. They can quickly substantially outnumber the local population and form a dominant sub- 12. See Carvajal and Wray (1996). 13. For a discussion of the mercury flow and stock problem in Brazil, see Biller (1994).

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