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Latin America’s mineral resources have been the continent’s blessing—and curse—since well before the arrival of the first Spanish adventurers. Modern mining technology has helped propel the region’s resource-based growth, but as this special section explores, it has created a new set of pitfalls and possibilities for political leaders, businesses and communities.

Our special section—featuring photo essays and analysis—is the result of a three-country research project in Chile, Peru and Colombia. Download the full section here.

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Watch a 10-minute documentary on the controversial expansion plan by Colombian coal mine Cerrejónto move the Río Ranchería. Click here.

Plus, watch video interviews with various stakeholders in Chile and Peru.

View a slideshow of images on natural resource extraction in Chile, Colombia, and Peru by award-winning photographer Nicolas Villaume.