Peru is the world’s sixth largest gold exporter. A quarter of the gold shipped from the country last year was likely exported by companies acquiring ore from illegal sources.
In recent years, illegal gold mining has become a widespread problem in Andean countries, destroying large portions of Amazon rainforest, abusing laborers, and evading taxes.
Officials have stated that they have begun using new methods to crackdown on illegal gold mining, including stricter export rules, confiscations, and criminal investigations. It is estimated that a quarter of the $8 billion in gold shipped from Peru is from illegal sources, and officials suggest that by targeting gold export companies as well as illegal gold mines, gold exports are likely to fall by 25% in 2014.
Already, the black market price of gold has dropped due to the fact that few companies are willing to risk buying illegal gold at the present time. Since December, authorities have seized almost a ton of gold from 19 companies suspected of buying from illegal sources.
According to customs officials, the government led by President Ollanta Humala will introduce stricture rules for gold exports in the coming weeks. These new rules will require companies to authenticate their gold sources, and undergo lab tests for purity of the gold to be exported.