The insatiable global appetite for gold, silver and other minerals is powering extractive industries in countries with weak institutions, and is linked to at least 150 deaths since 2002. This includes 46 extrajudicial killings of demonstrators around mining sites across Peru. There were also deaths linked to protests against contamination, waste disposal and conservation of coastlines and wildlife.
Indigenous communities are particularly hard hit. Several in Guatemala and Honduras told the Guardian that they were unaware their territory has been sold until machinery and security guards working for mining or hydroelectric companies appeared overnight.
Their efforts to resist have been denigrated as anti-development and dozens of community leaders face dubious criminal and civil charges.