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Venezuelans are illegally mining gold to survive as inflation skyrockets



Venezuela gold
miner Cesar Abac uses a wooden bowl and mercury to pan for gold
near at the village of Las Cristinas, southern Bolivar State,


  • Venezuelans mining for gold fragments in national park
    that inspired Disney’s “Up’.
  • Constantly rising currency inflation means small
    amounts of gold are being used to pay for everyday
  • A UN heritage site famous for green tourism is now home
    to multiple mines.

Venezuela’s economic crisis has forced citizens living in a
renowned national park into a drastic step — illegally mining for

The country’s indigenous Pemon people, native to the region
containing Venezuela’s famous Angel Falls, have now left
ecologically driven lives as tour guides in Canaima National Park
to mine for fragments of gold. 

Gold has now replaced the bolivar as the national currency within
the UNESCO-listed area, whose 500 million year old pillars of
erosion inspired Disney’s “Up”, with Venezuelans digging football
field sized mines to search for the precious metal, according to
Wall Street Journal

Mining is illegal in Canaima National Park, an area the size of
Belgium, but Venezuela’s dire economic conditions are pushing its
population to extremes which could cause devastation to the
heritage site in the view of environmentalists. 

Gold has become a key part of President Nicolas Maduro’s plans to
buoy the country’s economy as oil production falters. Although
American involvement in gold mining is banned under US sanctions,
Venezuela has been shipping its gold to Turkey for refining in
order to escape escalating prohibitions. 

The cost to the local community has also been high. Traditionally
many Venezuelans living in the park took English lessons in order
to become tourist guides but many have now quit to take up
mining, often under cover of darkness to avoid the military
patrols in the area. 

Amid deepening poverty and an exodus of millions of Venezuelans
the country’s population have taken drastic measures to survive,
potentially at the expense of its local ecosystem. 

News of the illegal mining comes as inflation in the country
looks set to hit 1.3 million percent this year, according
to the IMF, making staples such as rice and beans unaffordable
for much of the population.

Get the latest Gold price here.

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