Start A Petition

Gold Mine Approved in French Guiana's Only National Park

Environment  (tags: ecosystems, environment, destruction, activism, overdevelopment, protection, politics, world, pollution, humans, habitat, habitatdestruction, trees, animals, conservation, government )

- 1950 days ago -
Tensions have risen in the small Amazonian community of Saül in French Guiana, after locals discovered that the French government approved a large-scale gold mining operation near their town--and inside French Guiana's only national park--against their wish

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


mar l ene dinkins (264)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 3:54 pm

Past Member (0)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 4:12 pm
Noted. Thanks.

Cristina M (137)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 5:26 pm
Oh great, because there's no brighter idea than destroying the environment! I couldn't read the article because the link is not working, but headline and what you wrote here Cal explains the situation. So the French will destroy the environment in another continent to get the profit, very European of course. Another horrible attack against the Amazon, so horribly sad. Thanks Cal!

Christeen A (368)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 6:36 pm
This is a huge mistake. Thanks for sharing.

Sheila S (50)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 9:41 pm
Wow Cal, you must have set off a rampage! The page you link to is no longer available!

Bianca D (87)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 9:46 pm
The article seems to have been moved to:

Awful news, but it's better to know. Hif they're to do open pit mining, I really hope they have a very, very effective way of dealing with the tens of thousands of tons of cyanide that will be used to extract the gold from the ore or their soil, water table and air, along with all the beings that inhabit them, will be contaminated and it will be impossible to live any kind of healthy life there.

AWAY AWHILE Cal Mendelsohn (1067)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 12:12 am
Here is the text from the article:

Tensions have risen in the small Amazonian community of Saül in French Guiana, after locals discovered that the French government approved a large-scale gold mining operation near their town—and inside French Guiana's only national park—against their wishes. Run by mining company, Rexma, locals and scientists both fear that the mine would lead to deforestation, water pollution, and a loss in biodiversity for a community dependent on the forest and ecotourism.

The gold mine isn't necessarily illegal despite occurring inside the Guiana Amazonian Park. Tropical ecologist Sébastien Brosse, who has long worked in the region, says that a portion of the park is open to such activities.

"[Gold mining company] Rexma asked for a permit in the 'free adhesion' zone of the national park where industrial activities are not systematically excluded," he explained to However, he adds that such industrial projects must be "submitted to the agreement of the national park and of the local population."

Here the reaction has been clear. "Since the beginning, both refused this mining project," Brosse says.

A fish (Charax pauciradiatus) from Limonade River. Photo by: Sébastien Brosse.
A fish (Charax pauciradiatus) from Limonade River. Photo by: Sébastien Brosse.
Rexma's proposal was approved by the French government's minister of Production Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg, last year. While the project was initially pushed forward under the past administration, the current government—under Francois Hollande—has let the approval stand. French Guiana remains an overseas department of France, and not an independent nation, meaning that such decisions are often made in Paris not Cayenne. While there is a locally elected body, they are overseen by a prefect appointed by the French President.

Brosse says that locals are "firmly opposed" with almost all of them signing a declaration that calls for no gold mining within 10 kilometers of their town. Locals fear that if the mine goes ahead their ecotourism businesses will suffer.

A recent letter to Montebourg signed by a group of experts, including Brosse, outlines these concerns.

"For several decades, [Saül] has built a solid reputation in terms of eco-tourism and the vast majority of people live these activities [...] validated and encouraged by the creation of the National Park," the letter reads. "The introduction of a gold mining site near the village thus goes against the image of pristine environment that is known of Saul and the pride of its inhabitants. The decline in tourist consecutive mining activities could therefore jeopardize the local economy and hinder the harmonious development of the village."

Brosse says mining could also worsen malaria in the region, since the industry leaves stagnant reservoirs where mosquitoes breed. In addition, the gold mine could devastated the villager's access to unpolluted fish.

"Limonade River is the only stream located close to the village and the only source of fresh fish," Brosse says, noting that the mine will occur alongside Limonade River. A 2011 freshwater fish study in the area found several rare species and some that may even be new to science. In addition, pollution in Limonade would likely become disseminated far-and-wide.

"The stream flows down to the central part of the park which is an integral protection area," Brosse adds. "The mining area is located less than 10 kilometers upstream from the integral protection area."

Created in 2007, the 33,900 square kilometer (13,089 square mile) Guiana Amazonian Park is home to a number of big imperiled species including jaguars, tapirs, pumas, as well as stunning biodiversity: in all scientists have recorded over 1,200 tree species, 718 birds, 480 freshwater fish, 261 reptiles and amphibians, and 186 mammals inside the park.

Rexma did not respond to a request for comment about the gold mine.

Carol H (229)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 4:38 am
noted, thank you Cal

Caroline S (78)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 4:59 am

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 5:30 am
How disgracefull. Mankind will destroy all that is good,beautifull and natural. No more humans,PLEASE.

Tanya W (65)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 6:44 am

David C (131)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 7:34 am
how sad....

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 12:31 am
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Environment

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.