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Mining in Brazil, a time bomb against the peoples of the jungle

Mining in Brazil, a time bomb against the peoples of the jungle

The advance of the mining on indigenous lands and conservation units in Brazil is a time bomb against jungle peoples and the environment, which can result in even greater destruction if it is not disarmed in time, defended researchers and activists.

Artisanal mining, mostly illegal, has expanded in the last four years, taking advantage of the incentive that then-President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) gave to economic activities in the jungle, but it remains a threat despite the promise of the current ruler, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to put an end to this activity.

“The bomb is armed and has already been detonated, the only thing is that its effects have not reached the targets and the big cities, but we who are in the jungle have felt that impact for a long time and in the worst possible way,” said the representative of the Western Amazon Forum (FAOR), Marco Mota.

According to a study released by the MapBiomas project, in Brazil artisanal mining activities, which are one of the main causes of deforestation in the Amazon, went from 99,000 hectares to 196,000 hectares between 2010 and 2021.

The growth of illegal mining is also accompanied by a tendency to concentrate in the Amazon, where 91.6% of the areas dedicated to this type of extraction in Brazil are located.

“The impact that unites these communities from the north to the south of the country is that of ethnocide. They are aware that if nothing is done they are going to die.” Mota alerted.

Amazon, the most impacted biome

Between 2010 and 2021, the areas of mining concessions on indigenous lands grew 632%, reaching almost 20,000 hectares, mostly concentrated in the territories of the Kayapó, Munduruku and Yanomami ethnic groups.

The jungle peoples “They are being decimated in the name of greed, gold and the exploitation of the amazon”, added the representative of FAOR, who has been working with the Munduruku for more than a decade.

In this sense, Fabiano Bringel, a researcher from the State University of Pará, said that mining is, without a doubt, the epicenter of economic activities in the Amazon.

“In every four hectares mined in Brazil, three are in the Amazon”he added.

According to the report that Bringel is preparing, gold is the main metal extracted in protected areas of the Amazon, with just over 50% of all formal license applications, a total of 47,000 between 2012 and 2022; followed by cassiterite, with 20%, and copper, with 15%.

The trail of destruction is long, and goes beyond deforestation, with the contamination of rivers and soils by mercury to obtain the metal that is mostly used for the manufacture of jewelry.

According to a study released in May by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, in conjunction with other organizations, the fish consumed by the population of six states of the Brazilian Amazon is contaminated with mercury, with a concentration of the metal 21.3% higher than the allowed.

“They are not only contaminating the river, they are contaminating our wombs, they are killing our right to have children, they are destroying our town”Mota said.

The FAOR recalled that mining is largely responsible for the violence in the region.

“One of the tactics of mining criminals is to divide the community. Co-opt leaders to divide communities, create conflicts between relatives, between people who live in the same area”, Detailed Mota.

For the expert, there is a “illegal mining criminal system that involves authorities from all spheres of government.”

A sustainable future?

The advisor of the NGO Fase and member of the Committee in Defense of the Territories against Mining, Julianna Mlerba, highlighted that mineral assets are strategic resources and essential assets for future generations, but finite, for which reason decisions on the subject should be given through public debate.

“The absence of public policy mechanisms that guarantee citizen participation and control over mining policy can lead to an increase in cases of violation of rights and environmental degradation”lament.

Bringel argued that the money generated by mining “in the short term it can turn into a great loss of biodiversity in the long term”.

Mota recalled that although indigenous peoples represent about 0.5% of the Brazilian population, they are responsible for the preservation of more than 50% of the biomes.

“If these populations are exterminated, this protection is lost. If the Amazon continues to be destroyed as it is being done, the entire planet will enter into a crisis.” insisted.

Source: EFE

Source: Gestion

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