In 2022, Brazil has exported for nearly 5 billion dollars of gold worldwide. The intermediary sellers operate in a near total secrecy. What are the routes gold from Pará state travels the world?

In Brazil, 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. 


With English subtitles:


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Mauricio Gaioti, CEO of the North Star refinery operating in Para State, Brazil, resigned after having been exposed in this investigation.

As confirmed by the statutory protocols which journalists obtained just before the end of 2023, Mauricio Gaioti presented his resignation from the CEO position of the North Star refinery on October 30th, 13 days after the publication in Repórter Brasil.

North Star's partner in Belgium, Sylvain Goetz, had been previously convicted in Belgium for illegal gold trading.  Alain Goetz, his brother, who had been convicted together with him, has connections with another member of the Belém refinery — 24 Gold which Mauricio Gaioti was also affiliated with.

The North Star also signed a deal with a Brazilian-based refinery named Gana Gold. Its owners were subsequently arrested, and accused of leading a billion-dollar money laundering scheme through the purchase of illegal gold.

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

Quentin Noirfalisse

Hyury Potter

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

Hyury Potter

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