Brazil boosts gold reserves to the highest in more than 11 years

November 21, 2012

Nicholas Larkin  – Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/21/2012

Brazil raised its gold reserves for a second month in October to the highest level in more than 11 years as emerging nations from Kazakhstan to Russia boosted holdings by more than 40 metric tons.

Brazil’s holdings expanded 17.2 tons last month to 52.5 tons, the most since January 2001, according to data on the International Monetary Fund’s website. The country’s 1.7-ton purchase in September was the first since December 2008. Kazakhstan’s holdings increased 7.5 tons, Russia added 0.4 ton and Turkey’s reserves rose 17.5 tons, the data show. Germany, the second-biggest holder, after the U.S., cut gold holdings by 4.2 tons, the first reduction since June.

Central banks have been expanding reserves as the metal heads for a 12th straight annual gain and investors hold a record amount in bullion-backed exchange-traded products, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Nations bought 373.9 tons in the first nine months of the year and full-year additions will probably be in the “bottom end” of 450 to 500 tons, the London-based World Gold Council estimates.

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The high price of gold: death and destruction in Amazon mineral rush

September 26, 2011

Tom Phillips – The Guardian, 09/26/2011

Gold miners in El Ingenio, Peru. Artisan mining accounts for the livelihood of more than 40,000 Peruvian families. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Elton Thompson was out drinking when he was bludgeoned to death by a miner called Frank. He was 14. Arturo Balcazar was a shopkeeper. He was gunned down on a riverboat as his wife looked on. Alan Welch was 54. He was clubbed to death with tree trunks and branches after being accused of theft.

Three men, three murders but apparently one common cause: the global economic crisis that has sent gold prices through the roof and aggravated an already cut-throat scramble for gold in the South American Amazon.

Across the Amazon all-time record gold prices, which are the result of investors seeking a safe haven from the US and European economic slump, are reportedly adding fuel to a chaotic jungle gold rush. This has brought violence, disease and conflict to the mineral-rich rainforests of Brazil, Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela.

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