Illegal Mining Should be Paying Government 500 M Soles A Year – Sunat

Illegal mining in Peru is costing the country more than 500 million soles (about $190 million) a year, according to tax agency Sunat.

Sunat said Friday that illegal mining produces some 18,000 kilograms of gold per year, which has a value of more than 2.2 billion soles, daily El Comercio reported.

If taxes were paid by the illegal miners, it would be equivalent to more than 500 million soles, or almost 0.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

About 85 percent of informal gold mining in Peru is centered in the south-eastern Madre de Dios region, where illegal and informal miners held protests this week that turned deadly on Wednesday when three people were killed and at least 38 injured.

The miners were calling on the government to revoke new decrees that hit their activity with demands for incorporation, and tougher penalties that include 10 years in prison for mining in unauthorized areas and polluting the environment.

In addition to the tax evasion, illegal mining has led to the deforestation of large swaths of Madre de Dios’ Amazon forests and the mercury-contamination of rivers in the region.

In several areas, miners are encroaching on buffer zones and wildlife reserves in this megadiverse region that has begun to build sustainable development for indigenous communities through a successful and growing eco-tourism industry.

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