Essay on the problem of illegal gold mining in Peru

Length: 1500 words (penalties will be applied if exceeded by more than 20%)

Format: Essay style, typed, 12 font size, arial or times new roman font, single line spaced. Structure sentences into paragraphs, leaving a single blank line between paragraphs. The use of an occasional (ie. one, or two) diagram or photograph is acceptable, but do not overuse diagrams, tables or photographs. Use a few subheadings to augment the structure of your essay.

References: Include a single reference list at the end of the assignment. Try to source some refereed journal (ie. non-internet) high quality references. Use in- text citation of your references. The Harvard system of referencing must be used. Do not use too many references, just cite the most important/ pertinent ones as this is a structured essay, not a report or journal paper.


Illegal gold mining has had enormous impact on Peruvian rainforest. Mercury is used to extract minute gold particles from alluvial placer deposits, and constitutes a serious toxin which contaminates soil and water supplies. Wastelands now scar the Madre de Dios and other regions. These were previously high biodiversity areas, often the home of local tribal inhabitants.


Write an essay on ‘The problem of illegal gold mining in Peru’. Describe the impacts to the environment and human health associated with this particular activity. Structure your essay into five parts as follows :-

i) Introduction/background - briefly describe gold mining in the Madre de Dios region, or another similar region in Peru. Describe how it is processed and the relevant environmental contamination issues etc. (~300 words)

ii) Expression of a likely viewpoint from a local tribal elder, whose people are dependent upon the rainforest for their livelihood (~300 words)

iii) Expression of a likely viewpoint from either a miner/producer/merchant/exporter (your choice, ~300 words)

iv) Expression of a likely viewpoint from a powerful politician in Peru (~300 words)

v) Conclusion/overview/recommendations (~300 words)

In points ii), iii) and iv) you may write in first or third person. Write for a hypothetical, not a real person.