Small-scale gold mining and social conflict in the Amazon:

Comparing states, environments, local populations and miners
in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Suriname

Over the last few decades, the growth in small-scale gold mining has resulted in environmental problems and socio-political conflicts in the Amazon. The countries affected include Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Suriname. Uncontrolled polluting activities of small-scale gold mining often threaten the livelihoods of indigenous peoples, but also the health of the miners themselves and their families. Cross-border tensions arise when miners from one country invade another, or smuggle gold between countries. With the recent instability in the world economy driving up the price of gold, and with techniques becoming more mechanised, the scale of the problems is increasing.


What does GOMIAM do?

The principal objective of this project, is to develop a comparative understanding of socio-political and environmental conflicts related to small scale gold mining in the Amazon, and contribute to their possible solution. The first phase of the project, from 2011 to 2013, will be dedicated to a comparative analyis of the different political and environmental situations in the countries of research. By creating a partnership between academic experts, politicians, local communities and small-scale miners, this project presents a comprehensive and integrated viewpoint on the issues concerned. This innovative, interdisciplinary, anthropological approach will form the basis for creating policy advocacy initiatives that will start to be implemented during the second phase of the project.

We invite you to explore our website and get involved in the project initiatives.

Announcements & Events


Publication: Small-scale gold mining in the Amazon The cases of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Suriname.

This publication is a joint result from the GOMIAM project. In this book, the contributors give a situation analysis of small-scale mining in five countries in the wider Amazon region. This work comes from a base line study that is part of the GOMIAM project. The contributors of this booklet are all involved in the GOMIAM project as researchers. They have different disciplinary backgrounds, which is reflected in the broad scope of the ethnographic, economic, technical and political data collected in this book.

Full document: click here

For a hardcopy of the booklet, please contact the GOMIAM Secretariat in Amsterdam via info <at>

Publication: El sueño del corredor minero. Como aprender a vivir contigo y sin ti. by Victor Hugo Pachas C.

Este libro tiene por objetivo discutir sobre el futuro de la minería de oro en la región amazónica de Madre de Dios en Perú. Fue escrito por uno de los investigadores colaboradores de GOMIAM y publicado por el Centro Bartolomé de las Casas.

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