Spanish mining giant Santander has revealed it wants to extract gold and copper from the Amazon, with plans to mine as deep as 200 metres (500 feet) into the region.
Santander has been exploring for gold and silver from its mines in the region since the 1970s.
But the company is keen to drill deeper in the future.
It wants to mine a further 1,000 metres (3,600 feet) to develop the gold and platinum reserves.
“We’re looking at the area around Santander and in the north of Spain and the area between the two rivers, the Amazon,” Santander president Luis de la Torre said.
“That’s the most important part of our plans.”
It’s a very important area for our business.
“Santaderreia is the largest copper and gold mine in Spain, but is not the only company trying to drill.
There is also exploration by a group of Australian companies, and plans are underway to explore in the British Columbia and New Zealand areas.
However, Santander’s ambitions have raised concerns in the mining industry.
Santoander, which owns an estimated 35 per cent of the Amazon basin, is trying to win approval from the Spanish government to expand its operations into the Amazon.
It says that exploration would give it the chance to make the area “a sustainable mining operation”.
Santadona is also planning to mine for copper and nickel, which is valuable in the global copper market.
It’s been estimated that there are up to 400 million tonnes of copper and zinc in the Andes, which has an area of more than 6,000 square kilometres (2,200 square miles).
Santador said Santander would use a combination of existing wells and the new mine to extract copper.
But there are concerns that the expansion could damage the Amazon’s environment and the environment of indigenous people who live there.”
The indigenous people of the region have suffered greatly in the past, as well as many other areas that are close to the mine,” de la Torres said.
Santeaderia also plans to begin work on an underground mine in the Chinaloa region of Peru, where there is a large population of people from indigenous peoples.
It is not clear if Santadera will open the mine to other companies.