This case study presents the key findings of research conducted between June and August 2016 into the impacts of illicit gold mining in the Madre de Dios region in Peru, focussing on how communities can be supported in effecting a shift from informal mining structures to formal, specifically agricultural, activities. The study scrutinises the Agrobosque project, a cooperative which provides technical and financial support to its members, many ex or current gold miners, in growing cocoa and drives initiatives targeting the detrimental social impacts of mining. This reveals the key drivers incentivising the transition from informal to formal structures, and the main obstacles hindering this transition. Interviews with national and regional politicians shaping agricultural and mining policy, and the third sector working in this eld, contextualise Agrobosque’s work, yielding a set of programmatic recommendations to strengthen the current response, together with key changes necessary to national and regional policy.

This report was written by Lucia Bird and Nils Krauer for the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.
Lucia and Nils would like to thank Tuesday Reitano, Global Initiative Deputy Director for her direction, and Livia Wagner for her insight and guidance in preparing the eld research, reviewing and editing the case study.

The Global Initiative wishes to acknowledge the considerable assistance of Terre des Hommes Suisse for their generous cooperation and sharing their expertise, especially on the AgroBosque project in Madre de Dios, Peru. Further thanks goes to the OECD, who supported the Global Initiative with valuable inputs for starting a compendium of case studies, of which this is the first one.

The Global Initiative would also like to thank all of the experts and community members who generously shared their experience and valuable insight and all those who fight for the protection of human and labour rights and the environment.

Case Study: Illegal Gold Mining in Peru

Download PDF
Share this article


Lucia Bird Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo

Lucia is a Senior Fellow at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime. Lucia researches and writes on a broad range of organised crime types internationally, however her focus to date has been on irregular migration, drug policy in sub-saharan Africa and illegal gold mining in South America.

Lucia is currently working as legal and policy adviser to the Planning and Development Department of the Punjab Government, Pakistan, and previously held the same role at the Ministry of Finance, Ghana. Prior to this Lucia was a corporate lawyer at Slaughter and May in London. She is currently based in Lahore, Pakistan.

Recent Publications:

  • The War on Crime: Militarised Responses to Organised Crime, co-edited by Tuesday Reitano and Sasha Jesperson (Palgrave, 2017)
  • Integrated Responses to Human Smuggling from the Horn of Africa to Europe, co-authored by Tuesday Reitano, Peter Tinti and Mark Shaw (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, 2017)
  • Illegal Gold Mining in Peru, Case Study, co-authored by Nils Krauer (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, 2017)
Read more

Nils Krauer

Nils has studied history and social science at the University of Basel (Switzerland) and the Université Panthéon-Sorbonne I (France) focusing on social conflicts and development politics. Long stays in Latin America, which included working for the Swiss Embassy in Uruguay and Peru, as well as intense studies of the local political and social life have made him an expert on this region.

As part of his research for the ethnographical study “From gold miner to millionaire,” Nils shared the lives of the miners in Madre de Dios for several months. In addition, he has worked in Peru as a consultant for the Better Gold Initiative (BGI). Nils accompanied Daniel Schweizer in Peru while he was working on portraits of human rights activists for his exhibition “Faces of Human Rights Defenders and the Extractive Industry” (2013).

Read more