Amazon hosts third gold rush in Brazil
Carolina Gonçalves Brazil Agency reporter
Brasília – what the outcome of the inspection operations of environmental crimes indicated, and the Government feared, is being confirmed now by specialists in mining and environmental agencies: began almost five years ago, the third in the Amazon gold rush, with proportions, probably in excess of panning of Serra Pelada, in southern Pará, in the period between 1970 and 1980.
In the past five years, the Brazilian Institute of environment and renewable natural resources (Ibama) has disabled 81 illegal miners who worked in northern Mato Grosso, in southern Pará and Amazonas, in the region of the Transamazon highway. Ibama said that were total fines of $ 75 million and seized equipment and dozens of engines and ferries.
This week, fiscal of Ibama and the National Indian Foundation (Funai) and Federal Police officers shut down three illegal diamond mines inside the Roosevelt Indian reservation, in Rondônia. Seventeen engines and separator boxes used in illegal mining were destroyed, ceasing the immediate damage in an area of difficult access.
The resumption of movement sourdough in areas explored in the past, as the Roosevelt Reservation, and the discovery of new sources of wealth match the curve of the appreciation of gold on the world market. Last year, the Jaguar-as equals 31.10 grams of gold – came to be worth more than $ 1.8 billion.
With the global crisis, the price in the international market, retreated slightly this year, but still remains above $ 1.6 mil. In Brazil, the curve of metal recovery continues to rise. Earlier this year, the price per gram of gold rose 12%, reaching out to be $ 106,49.
“It is a very high value that outweighs the risk of hiding and illegal activity. Now any teorzinho that is in the rock, which before was not cost-effective, shall be economical, “says geologist Elmer Prata Salomão, President of the Brazilian Association of mining research and former President of the National Department of Mineral production (DNPM), attached to the Ministry of mines and energy.
As the current gold rush is very recent, the data are still precarious and the official organs do not have a global count. According to Solomon, who chaired the DNPM in 1990, after the gold rush of Serra Pelada, which surveys were made about 400 thousand miners pointed out in activity in Brazil.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency for the technological development of Brazilian Mineral Industry (Adimb), Lydia Marini, cites two regions in Mato Grosso considered strategic to the panning: the Alto Teles Pires, in the North of the State, which already had a strong movement of activity and today is in the final phase, Juruena, Mato Grosso do Sul and in the Northwest, where mining was less explored.
“Miners throughout the region and has companies with mining rights recognized to act there,” reports. As there is still very shallow gold that attracts illegal prospectors, the area has been the subject of conflicts. Companies have tried to solve the problem at the end of last year, when they sought the Government of Mato Grosso and the DNPM. “The news I have had is that the meeting was not very good. It seems that the local government took advantage of mining, “he said. Sought by Agency Brazil, the Government of Mato Grosso is not expressed.
“The most problematic are the mines of gold and diamond. In the Amazon, including the North of Mato Grosso, are the most problematic and irregular, both because they are in areas prohibited, as they are illegal immigrants. ”
The Roosevelt Reservation, in the South of Rondônia, 500 km from the capital, Porto Velho, is another recurring point of illegal mining. The ownership of more than a thousand ethnic Indians Cinta-Larga, rich in diamond, was the scene of a massacre, in 2004, when 29 miners, who explored the region illegally, were killed by Indians within the reserve. The episode was followed by several manifestations of Wide-Strap, including kidnappings, who asked permission to explore the reserve.
“Now there is a group of prospectors acting along with the Indians, illegally. Now, they’re holding hands. We saw photos with huge backhoe, “says geologist.
The goldfields in the Roosevelt returned to be turned off this week, when the Ibama flared over an operation in the region, with the support of the Federal Police.
Marini explained that it is not yet possible to quantify the numbers activity practiced illegally in the region. “There is no record. In the Tapajós region, where [the mine] is in the final stages, there was talk in very high values in tonnes of gold that would have come out of there, but the official record is small, for the most part it is. Gold, diamond and even Tin, which is cheaper, in mining, more than 90% was clandestine. ”
Editing: Simon Franco