Las Claritas II

This is the infamous mining area “Las Claritas” and “Kilómetro 88,” the largest mining sector in Venezuela. It is larger than 6,300 football fields! A virtual flight (satellite image captured on February 11, 2020) circles over the town of Las Claritas. This immense sea of green tropical forests is part of the Guiana Shield, protected by the Reserva Forestal Imataca legislation, in order to protect forests and their enormous potential, and where mining is of course prohibited by law. This is one the world’s most unique and rich areas in flora and fauna. The devastation has been occurring for decades, but has become much more dramatic in the last 20 years. The red lines highlight the areas that have suffered the most impact from mining. All these mines are illegal. The few that were legal were taken over by anarchic miners in the last 15 years. This is a perfect example of the “law of the jungle.” Mining is taking place on the banks of rivers, the largest of which is the Cuyuní River (seen in the video) The brown color of the water is produced by massive amounts of sedimentation produced by mining activity. The aquatic ecosystem of the Cuyuní River, which always had transparent water and very little sediments, has been completely transformed by mining activity. The Cuyuní River flows into the Esequibo River that borders with Guyana. The entire region is severely contaminated by mercury, an extremely toxic chemical substance that is used to separate gold ore from the earth.

Our position on
the Orinoco Mining Arc

Arco Minero del Orinoco

The purpose of SOSOrinoco is to shed light on the existing body of work regarding the situation in the Amazonia and Orinoquia regions of Venezuela, to raise awareness of the tragedy that is occurring and to outline some urgent measures that need to be taken in order to halt the unfolding human and environmental disaster.