The environmental protection NGO " committed itself against this project after analyzing it " from an environmental and economic point of view, explained Pascal Canfin, Director General of WWF France , during a conference call. The project, led by the Russian-Canadian consortium Nordgold-Columbus Gold, plans to mine a mine, starting in 2022, in an area 125 km by track south of the city of Saint-Laurent du Maroni, in full rainforest, and would create 750 direct jobs. The largest project of primary gold mining ever proposed in France plans to dig a pit equivalent to 32 times the stage of France.
It is the subject of a debate public until July 7 in French Guiana with the first public meetings in early April. This industrial project " is an economic aberration and an aberration in terms of return on the public money invested ," said Mr. Canfin. The project would require 420 million euros of public money, or 560,000 euros per direct job created, calculates the NGO. The latter defends another model of economic development based for example on eco-tourism for this region where the unemployment rate is higher than 20%. For the WWF, this project will not allow to fight illegal gold panning. " It's completely wrong ," said Canfin, arguing that the areas involved and the methods used are very different.
The NGO also points out the risks to the environment , with a site located near the largest biological reserve in France, the use of significant amount of cyanide or deforestation. There are " major industrial risks ", said Laurent Kelle, head of the Guyanese office of WWF France. WWF is still concerned that this project, if completed, will lead to other similar projects. " One of the fears we have is that Golden Mountain opens the Pandora's Box ," worried Pascal Quéru, an economist at WWF France. The project was supported by Emmanuel Macron when he was Minister of the Economy, but it is rejected by the Minister of the ecological transition, Nicolas Hulot. It is also opposed by customary leaders in this French territory in South America, while some politicians and entrepreneurs are in favor.