People living in French Guiana have recently found out that the French government agreed to allow a mining company known as Rexma to start digging for gold in that part of the world.
If it were not for the fact that this gold mine is to carry out its activities smack in the center of French Guiana's only national park, it is very well possible that locals would not have reacted this badly to the French government's decision.
However, this is not the case and, as Mongabay reports, several people living in the Amazonian community of Saül are now asking that the high officials who gave their approval to this project fall back on the promise they made to Rexma.
What these men and women fear is that, once workers begin mining for gold in this national park, local waterways and soils will be contaminated with various harmful chemical compounds.
Besides this, they argue that mining and deforestation usually go hand in hand, which means that local ecosystems will be severely affected.
Mongabay quotes a letter sent to them by an ecologist named Sébastien Brosse, which reads as follows:
“For several decades, [Saül] has built a solid reputation in terms of eco-tourism and the vast majority of people live from these activities [...] validated and encouraged by the creation of the National Park.”
Therefore, “The introduction of a gold mining site near the village thus goes against the image of pristine environment that is known of Saül and the pride of its inhabitants. The decline in tourist consecutive mining activities could therefore jeopardize the local economy and hinder the harmonious development of the village.”
According to the same source, the Guiana Amazonian park also happens to be home to threatened and endangered animal species such as jaguars, tapirs and pumas, which is why efforts must be made to protect it.