HomeNewsBriefHigh Fuel Demand Highlights Illegal Mining in Peru Amazon
BRIEF

High Fuel Demand Highlights Illegal Mining in Peru Amazon

ILLEGAL MINING / 15 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

An estimated 85 percent of fuel oil sold in the Amazonian Madre de Dios region of Peru is allegedly used in illegal gold mining, an illustration of how the industry is flourishing in an organized crime hotspot.

According to newspaper El Comercio more than 180,000 gallons of oil enter the region each day, but only 15 percent of the fuel is used in automobiles. The remaining 85 percent is directed into the informal mining sector, with the demand from this industry making fuel demand in the region a hundred times greater than in Lima. Fuel oil also represents 15 percent of expenses for those involved in the mining industry, with mining machinery requiring 70 to 80 gallons of fuel per day, according to the newspaper.

Demand has continued to rise, with 1.15 million barrels sold to the region in 2012, compared to 682,000 barrels in 2009. Similarly, the number of gas stations quadrupled from 2010 to 2012, from 12 in 2010 to 48 in 2012, a trend facilitated by the ease of gas station licensing, reported El Comercio.

Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar Vidal agreed that the unregulated flow of fuel to the region was a serious problem, with miners licensed as fuel providers able to legally buy the large quantities of fuel needed for their illegal business. He also said that the government was already taking steps to tackle the problem.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Madre de Dios region of Peru, on the border with Bolivia and Brazil, is a hub for criminal activity including sex trafficking, cocaine smuggling, and illegal gold mining. The region produces a fifth of the country's gold, and according to a government estimate 97 percent of 18,000 people involved in mining in the region are unregistered.

A security analyst claimed last year that clear links existed between the region's drug trafficking and illegal mining industries, as seen in Colombia where criminal organizations control much of the illegal gold mining.

El Comercio's report highlights the difficulties in regulating the industry. In March 2012, riots broke out after the government signed a decree to criminalize informal mining. The rising demand for fuel indicates that illegal mining has continued unabated.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 17 NOV 2020

A series of assassinations on Ecuador’s southern border with Peru have been attributed to gang members fighting for control of…

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 9 FEB 2021

A new report on human trafficking in Venezuela's Bolívar state shows that forced labor camps and sex trafficking rings are…

COCA / 25 SEP 2013

Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world’s largest coca crop cultivator, reinforcing its position as the world's primary cocaine producer…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…