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French Guiana is an overseas department of France on the northeast coast of South America, composed mainly of dense tropical rainforest part of the Amazonian eco-system. In 1986 a Jungle Training Center was established in East Guiana which became the French reference in material of survival and jungle tropical forest combats. The camp is operated by the Foreign Legion and all forces deployed in Guiana for security missions will have to follow and pass the training. One of these missions is 'Opération Harpie', a French operation n Guyana carried out jointly by the gendarmerie forces and the armed forces in French Guiana to fight against illegal gold panning in French Guiana. Substantial gold deposits are present in French Guyana and illegal and un-controlled gold panning operations have a devastating impact on the environment and indigenous communities. Beside the coupled deforestation to gold panning, also the use of mercury directly impacts the health and survival of humans and fauna living in and near the jungle. Opération Harpie has as mandate to arrest and destroy the logistic chain involved in illegal gold panning.
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