Introduction to GOMIAM

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. 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 mechanized, the scale of the problems is increasing. As few national governments know how to respond to these developments, evidence-based policy responses are urgently required. These are what this project aims to provide.

Small-scale gold mining is particularly relevant, because:

a) it is one of het main extractive industries in the region,
b) it has severe environmental impacts, and
c) it often triggers intense conflict between social groups, and between economic and cultural interests, crossing ethnic boundaries and national borders.

From comparative analysis to policy initiatives

The first phase of the project, from 2011 to 2013, is dedicated to a comparative analysis of the different political and environmental situations of the local populations and of the miners themselves. Our research will acknowledge the economic motivations and cultural dimensions affecting both of these groups. By creating a partnership between academic experts, politicians, local communities and small-scale miners, our project team will be able to present a comprehensive and integrated viewpoint on the issues concerned. This innovative, interdisciplinary, anthropological approach will form the basis for creating policy initiatives that will start to be implemented during the second phase of the project (2014-2016).

Consortium members


Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation, The Netherlands                                                    

The Interuniversity Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation, is a multi-disciplinary research institute located in the centre of Amsterdam. It was founded in 1964, and has played an active role as an inter-university centre in cooperation with other Dutch universities and institutes since 1971.
CEDLA aims to promote the study of Latin America by conducting and stimulating relevant and original research on developments in that region, and by distributing the results of this research through university education and publications. The centre has a library specialized in the collection of printed and digital material on Latin America in the social sciences and history, and is open to all visitors.

More information: www.cedla.nl


SOLIDARIDAD - The Netherlands

Solidaridad is an international network organisation with more than 20 years of experience in creating fair and sustainable supply chains from producer to consumer. Solidaridad believes that fair and sustainable trade reduces poverty and helps to preserve people's environment. Solidaridad has developed into a specialized organization for sustainable development. It has a good track record as a force for innovation. Its development as a learning organization with the capacity to anticipate and respond to new developments and opportunities on the market is the hallmark of Solidaridad's organizational culture and strategy. More information: www.solidaridadnetwork.org


WWF GUIANAS - World Wildlife Fund Guiana, Suriname

The WWF Guianas Program is a WWF conservation initiative launched in 1998, covering the three Guianas (Suriname, French Guyana and Guyana) and targeting the Guianan Ecoregion complex (Guianan Moist Forests Ecoregion, Guianan Freshwater Ecoregion and Guianan-Amazon Mangrove Ecoregion). It operates through partnerships with local communities, private and public sector institutions, international NGOs and funding organizations to achieve nature conservation and sustainable use of the region’s natural resources. More information: www.wwfguianas.org



Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos, Universidade Federal de Pará, Brasil


Universidade Federal de Pará, Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos, Brasil
NAEA is a postgraduate institute linked to the Federal University of Pará. It was founded in 1973 with the objective to stimulate and produce research projects on the Amazon. More information: www.ufpa.br/naea






GOMIAM is funded by CoCooN: a knowledge, research and innovation programme on Conflict and Cooperation over Natural Resources in developing countries. CoCooN is a new international programme funded by the Directorate General of Development Cooperation (DGIS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The programme is part of the NWO Conflict & Security theme. More information: www.nwo.nl/cocoon