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Amazon Bears Brunt of Gold-Prospecting Surge, Brazil Study Shows

An informal gold mining camp, in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon basin, on Aug. 28, 2019. 
Photographer: Joao Laet/AFP/Getty Images

A new analysis of satellite images shows the extent of mining growth in Brazil, particularly small-scale gold prospecting in the Amazon region.

Between 1985 and 2020, the area of Brazil dedicated to mining grew more than sixfold to about half a million acres, according to a MapBiomas report. Small operations that use manually-intensive methods surged in recent years to occupy a larger area than industrial mining.