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Humanitarian crisis in Venezuela leads to disastrous gold mining

Due to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, human rights are sometimes diametrically opposed to nature conservation.

In the study 'Radical Gold: Emergency Resource Extraction and Trade in the Northern Amazon', anthropologist Eva van Roekel tries to map out the consequences of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

More than four and a half million inhabitants of Venezuela have fled across the border because of the crisis. Unrest in Venezuela has led to sky-high inflation and a collapse of the economy. Van Roekel's research focuses specifically on the Venezuelan and Brazilian border areas that are increasingly showing patterns of extra-legal gold mining. This has become a way of survival for Venezuelans who have fled and also those who remain. This illegal gold mining trade permeates global commodity chains, such as those of mobile phones and jewellery.

With her research, Van Roekel hopes to gain more insight into the problems caused by this activity. “My research should provide an in-depth analysis of gold mining and trade in the context of the humanitarian crisis and increasing ecological degradation in the northern Amazon”.

Van Roekel has been awarded an ISRF grant for her research. The Political Economy Fellowship is awarded by the Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF), which is dedicated to pioneering research in the social sciences.

Professor of Anthropology of Resources Marjo de Theije is her research partner.

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