Gold and Silver

Most of The Brazil’s Gold Exports Come from Illegal Mines

According to a survey by public prosecutors and the Federal University of Minas Gerais, roughly 28 percent of Brazilian gold exports in 2019 and 2020 have come from illegal mines, pointing to rampant document forgery and a lack of efficient law enforcement.

During a two-year investigation, federal prosecutors and the Federal University of Minas Gerais discovered evidence of crime involving 48.9 tonnes of gold.

Wildcat miners frequently harvest gold from mining prohibited in Brazil, such as protected natural reserves or indigenous land. Mining without regard for environmental standards contributes to deforestation in the Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) jungle and pollutes waterways with mercury.

The analysis only included the federal government gold to pay taxes on the precious metal. It compared that data to satellite photos of the alleged mine locations.


Gold Quality


The amount of gold reported flowing out of the affected areas exceeded the capability of the sources.

Moreover, there was an attempt to launder this gold to conceal its true provenance. However, it is apparent through cross-referencing it with images that this gold did not come from the declared origin. Raoni Rajao, an environmental management professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, concurred with one of the report’s authors.

Furthermore, on satellite pictures, the location identified to authorities as the origin of the gold for 6.3 tonnes of gold revealed no evidence of mining.

The remainder came from locations surrounding protected areas that miners had overrun.


Government Data


According to government figures, 111 tonnes of gold were exported in 2020, more than the overall production of 92 tonnes. Data shows there indicating that some may have come from illegitimate sources, according to the research.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy in Brazil did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

In 2019 and 2020, Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom purchased 72 percent of Brazil’s gold exports.

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