Goldmining having a major impact on indigenous Amazon communities | atmosphere

A new report has highlighted the scale and impact of mining on indigenous reserves in the Amazon countries as gold prices soared during the Kovid-19 epidemic. More than 20% of indigenous land is overlapped by mining concessions and illegal mining, it found, covering 450,000 sq km (174,000 sq mi) – and 31% of Amazon’s indigenous reserves are affected.

The report released on Wednesday by the World Resources Institute said that indigenous people should be given more legal rights to manage and use their land, and called for better environmental safeguards. As pressure on the issue increases, a leading Brazilian thinker has called for regulations to trace gold sold by financial institutions.

Peter Weit, director of the WRI’s Land and Resource Rights Initiative and one of the authors of the report, said, “The extent of mining concessions and illegal mining areas that overlap indigenous areas in the Amazon is of great importance.” It used geospatial analysis and literature and science reviews, and it was estimated that half a million small goldsmiths are active in the Amazon region.

Only legal mining concessions are active in Amazon, Veit said. But with mining seen by many Amazon countries as the key to development, this may change. In Brazil, the government of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has sent a bill to Congress to formally legalize mining on protected indigenous reserves.

“The implication for the environment and for indigenous people could increase greatly if those concessions that had yet to be allocated were to begin,” Vet said.

Rising gold prices – which were around $ 2,100 (£ 1,625) per ounce in August – have helped drive wildcat miners to Amazon. “Gold prices had been rising for years, but because of the threat to economies from novel coronaviruses that increased prices – around 35% this year – investors sought perceived protection for gold. As prices rise, so demand and Mining happens, ”the report states.

Mines work in a mine in an illegal gold mine in the Itaituba region of Brazil's mercury state

The mines operate in a mine in an illegal gold mine in the Itaituba region of the mercury state of Brazil. Photo: Lucas Dumphres / AP

In Brazil, invasion of indigenous lands by garimpeiros The number of wildcat miners has increased since Bolsonaro took office in January 2019. Many voted for Bolsonaro after promising to legalize his work. In 2019, due to deforestation garimpeiros Amazon set a record of 10,500 hectares (24,000 acres) in 2013 by 23%, an O Globo newspaper reported in May, following a Freedom of Information request to the Environment Agency Ibma.

The army’s operations have failed to clear thousands of miners from Yanomami, Brazil’s largest indigenous reserve. The report stated that from October 2018 to March 2020, mining in the reserve had declined by about 2,000ha.

The Munduruku Indigenous Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pare is heavily affected. Garimpeiro Investors have paid local indigenous people who help them enter the reserve and work within it, said local leader Adimir Kaaba Munduruku. “It has been copied by other Mundaruku and has become a major problem,” he said. “Alcohol, prostitution, drugs, violence, division within the Munduruku people, pollution of the river bed have all increased.”

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether a Brazilian Air Force aircraft flew indigenously garimpeiros Follow the following reports, from his region of Brasilia, for a meeting with the Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salz, during a military campaign to control illegal mining. The operation was suspended.

Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported that the Brazilian thinktank Instituto Escolas (Choice Institute) has opened a public consultation for a proposal, which will introduce the central bank of Brazil and the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate the purchase of gold . Garimpeiros Currently only need to show ID and sign a form, it said. Folha said Brazil’s gold exports rose 35% from January to August, to $ 3 billion.

A member of the Yanomami community sees Brazil as the Environment Agency that closes an illegal gold mine

A member of the Yanomami community sees the Brazilian Environment Agency as Ibama, which closes an illegal gold mine in the state of Rorima, Brazil. Photo: Bruno Kelly / Reuters

Legal mining can also come at a high cost, Veit said. “Many companies do not follow the law, the letter of the law, many do not follow their agreements with the government,” he said. Peru and Ecuador document study of legal conflicts between indigenous groups, governments and mining companies.

In Guyana, the indigenous people of Campbelltown involved in artisanal mining in Patiamona have expressed a desire to work with “sustainability” in a more sustainable manner, ban mercury and rehabilitate mining sites, the report said .

During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, human rights coordinator Michael McGarrell of the Amazon indigenous organization COICA said that his Patamona indigenous people had long practiced traditional, low-impact, artisanal mining in Guyana. “Our people were mining before anyone arrived; However, it was done in a way [meant] It had minimal impact and continues to this day.

But the Amazons lose indigenous people when mining companies and illegal operations enter their lands. “We are under siege from legal and illegal mining and our governments are doing little to enforce the rights that exist.”


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