The Icabarú Mines in the Caroní River Basin: Incoherence, State-Sponsored Anarchy and Criminality

Downstream from Icabarú, one can see more deforested mining sites along both banks of the Icabarú, and also another settlement with an unpaved landing strip. At the confluence of the Icabarú and Caroní rivers there is a small settlement with a dirt runway for light aircraft, and one can also see mining sites located inside, as well as outside of Canaima National Park. Miners die on a regular basis as a result of being buried alive as flimsy cliffs collapse from the action of pressurized water jets ejected by the monitors used in the hydraulic mining method

Mining activity along the Icabarú corridor is a contradiction, given the strategic importance of this river basin for Venezuela’s economy and other activities.  Mining activity has gone from being disperse and small-scale, conducted by adventurers and local inhabitants, to being an anarchic focus of mining activity that is of utmost importance to the criminal network that has taken over the entire world of mining in Venezuela during the last 20 years. There is an urgency for the implementation of a new policy that would define a coherent land use and management plan for the Icabarú River basin and the entire upper Caroní River, and which would serve the country’s general interests, guarantee the workings of the electric power generated by the Guri Dam, and put an end to the anarchy and violence, and to the socio- environmental destruction.

The Icabarú River, located in the southern part of the state of Bolívar, adjacent to the border with Brazil, is one of the most important tributaries of the Caroní River, whose 5,030 km2 basin is still covered mostly by a valuable and strategic rainforest1 despite the ugly scars resulting from all the mining activity.

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.