Guatemalan Gold Panners Continue to Desecrate the Chiquibul Reserve

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Updated: May 9, 2016

Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) reported this week that Guatemalan Gold Hunters, known in Spanish as ‘Oreros’ have devised creative ways on how to reach gold reserves higher in the mountain. FCD reported that on April 16, a resident of a Guatemalan Village, El Naranjon, Juan Che Zuc was detained and he confessed that gold panners are now taking away the stones from the streams, seeking gold particles and crushing them either in nearby camps or at their villages. Patrol teams at the Reserve have confirmed that this new activity is negatively impacting remote areas at the Chiquibul-Maya Mountains where areas nearby the streams are cleared of vegetation, trees and palms and trenches are unnecessarily opened. Garbage left behind by gold panners is also a problem that they have to deal with. FCD estimates that there are at least 25 men engaging in illegal gold panning at the Chiquibul Forest mostly operating under the cover of darkness.  FCD has reliable information that that stones taken from the Chiquibul Forest Reserve have been taken to nearby villages such as Monte Los Olivos. Gold panners also come from villages in Southern Peten and Morales, Izabal. A gram of gold is being sold at two hundred and fifty Quetzales , which is approximately seventy four Belize dollars. To date only Boiton Minerals has a government sanction and an active concession to seek gold within  the Chiquibul Reserve.