Case Study - The Curse of Inca Gold

In the Andes of Peru, gold mining challenges water supplies, social systems and environmental health

Legendary Inca gold from the Andes mountains in Peru has had a centuries old tradition of wealth, conquest, and tragedy. Modern multinational firms expanding gold mining in response to economic and market scenarios that make extracting gold even in trace deposits a viable opportunity—are the latest conquistadors. However, the costs in social and natural capital, largely unaccounted, may be the current curse of Andean gold.

Open Pit, a 90 minute documentary, explores the impacts of gold mining, one of the most lucrative industries in global trade. In the remote highlands of Cajamarca in Peru operates the Yanacocha mine, the most profitable gold mine in the world. Constantly taking over more land and impacting the environment, the mine is conflicting with the campesinos and their way of life based on agriculture and farming. The film gives an intimate look into the lives of native populations in Peru, their customs and traditions currently being threatened by the world's intense demand for gold. The film also explores the impacts of gold mining on the social, economic and political life of the country. The film is used with permission.

get gold quote from King Ferdinand 1500


About the filmmaker: Gianni Converso (gianniconverso at gmail dot com) is an Uruguayan filmmaker based in Toronto, Canada.


Photo credit: Adapted from José Luis Zapata Ruiz (2007) and Bjergaard (2008)