The illegal gold mining crisis in French Guiana is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Hundreds of tons of toxic mercury are released into the environment each year, causing devastating harm to the soil and waterways. This activity has also decimated thousands of acres of rainforest – a tragic blow for a country already struggling to protect its biodiversity.
In response, the French army has taken drastic steps, demolishing over 30,000 camps and deploying more than 1,000 soldiers and gendarmes in order to crack down on illegal gold panners. While this mission has been effective in curbing the activities of clandestine miners, it has tragically resulted in several fatalities.
This ongoing crisis is being documented by filmmaker Mariana Otero in her new documentary The Curse of Gold (La malediction de l’or). This gripping film shines a light on the human cost of this illegal industry and explores how local communities are fighting back against the environmental damage it causes.
The Curse of Gold exposes how those who profit from illegal gold mining are often connected to powerful networks – from international corporations to local politicians. It also sheds light on how indigenous communities have been impacted by this unethical trade and how they struggle daily with land rights violations and contaminated water sources caused by mercury runoff.
This documentary is essential viewing for anyone concerned with environmental justice or interested in learning more about France’s hidden gold rush crisis. By watching The Curse of Gold we can educate ourselves on why an immediate solution to illegal gold mining is necessary – now more than ever – before any further irreversible damage is done.