Mining is one of the oldest economic activities of mankind. Within this activity, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is one of the most studied sectors due to its high level of environmental contamination and the social problems it causes. In recent years, ASGM in the northern Amazon of Ecuador has increased significantly, and studies that describe its current situation and impact are scarce. In this sense, the present study aimed to analyze the current status and socioenvironmental impacts caused by ASGM gold mining activities in the Cascales canton in the province of Sucumbíos in northeastern Ecuador. The methodological tools used in the present study were a literature review of scientific and gray literature, field visits to assess perceived impacts and an expert judgment to discuss the results and establish challenges. The main results indicate that illegal and informal activities continue to be carried out in the upper zone of the Cascales and Duvino rivers; 90% of local miners still use mercury in this activity, although it is legally prohibited. Among the main impacts evidenced are the contamination of water bodies, soil and atmosphere due to the use of mercury and disturbance to flora and fauna due to the use of machinery in the exploration process. Finally, the government should focus efforts on strengthening public policies to socialize the importance of good environmental practices in ASGM and the effects of the impacts on human health and environmental issues, all this with the support of social actors, such as ministries, universities, NGOs, ASGM associations and private enterprise.
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