In 2022, Brazil has exported for nearly 5 billion dollars of gold worldwide. In the biggest country of South America, gold is produced both by industrial mining companies such as AngloGold Ashanti and thousands of artisanal and small-scale miners, called garimpos. 

Encouraged by the Brazilian government to reduce its debt in the 1980s, artisanal mining in the Amazonian region, has seen a boom in the 2010s. The increase of gold prices has been a key driving factor. But when Jaïr Bolsonaro came to power, he openly encouraged the destruction of the rainforest through increased extraction by miners and the intermediaries they sell their gold to.

In states such as Pará, illegal mining has skyrocketed. The effects on indigenous people (violence, loss of living areas) and on the environment (especially through the use of mercury) have been significant. 

Vast amounts of gold mined in Brazil arrive in Europe. But nowadays, it’s really difficult, due to the opacity of the supply chain, to know where the gold that arrives in Europe has been mined. And in which conditions. All over the supply chains, intermediaries operate in a near total secrecy. The Gold Chain investigate the reasons of that lack of transparency in Europe, the key refineries play in the opaque context and the impacts gold mining has on Brazilian populations. We also have investigated  the role of the London Bullion Market Association and other certification schemes and the flaws in the certification process. 

Team members

Ludovica Jona

Ludovica Jona is a freelance journalist and a communication expert based in Rome.

Ludovica Jona

Quentin Noirfalisse

Quentin Noirfalisse is a Belgian freelance investigative journalist

Hyury Potter

Hyury Potter is an investigative reporter based in Brazil, currently working with Repórter Brasil newsroom.

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