17:02 GMT +322 March 2019
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    A policeman sits on a log at an illegal mining camp burned to the ground as part of an operation to eradicate illegal mining in the area known as La Pampa, in Peru's Madre de Dios region.

    Peru Opens 3 Military Bases to Combat Illegal Gold Mining - Interior Ministry

    © AP Photo/ Rodrigo Abd
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    BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Peru, one of the world's largest gold producers, opens three bases for military and police staff to combat illegal mining in the department of Madre de Dios on the border with Brazil and Bolivia, the country's interior ministry reported on Tuesday.

    "The second phase, which will last six months, seeks to reinforce the military and police presence in the buffer zone that was occupied by illegal miners and ensure their permanent eradication," the ministry said on Twitter.

    Each of the free bases will be staffed with 100 servicemen from the newly created Amazon Protection Brigade and 50 police officers, the ministry said.

    As much as 91.5 percent of gold in Madre de Dios is being mined by unidentified artisan miners, that is, illegally, the data of Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines showed. According to expert estimates, the contribution of illegal mining to the economic growth of the region in 2017 was estimated at more than 40 percent. According to the local governor, about 40,000 illegal miners work in the region, with a total population of just over 140,000.

    READ MORE: Motherlode: Firm Merger to Create World's Largest Gold-Mining Company

    Illegal gold mining is not purely an economic or environmental issue. In February, the Peruvian government carried out the first phase of its plan to combat the illegal mines, dubbed Operation Mercurio 2019. As many as 1,200 policemen and 200 soldiers participated in the first phase, they managed to save 51 people from slavery and detain 80 suspected criminals in just 14 days.

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    miners, illegal, gold mining, Madre de Dios, Peru
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