MADRE DE DIOS REGION, PERU - NOVEMBER 17:  Gold miners watch National Police officers search for illegal mining operations in a deforested section of the Amazon lowlands on November 17, 2013 in Madre de Dios region, Peru. Police eventually destroyed three pieces of illegal mining equipment in the area. The biologically diverse Madre de Dios ('Mother of God') region has seen deforestation from gold mining in the area triple since 2008, when gold prices spiked during global economic turmoil. Small-scale miners are drawn to the area in hopes for higher pay but often face abysmal conditions. Gold is usually amalgamated with mercury during the process of informal mining in the region, which is discharged into the water supply and air, poisoning fish and sickening people in the area. Peru is the largest producer of gold in Latin America and the sixth-largest in the world. Informal mining accounts for roughly 20 percent of the gold production in Peru.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)