Project that allows exploitation of mineral resources in indigenous land advances in the House~May 11, 2012

Project that allows exploitation of mineral resources in indigenous land advances in the House

Posted on May 11, 2012 by HC

Tags: mining, indigenous lands
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Mining in indigenous land advances in the House – The Indian reservations of the country may have their doors open to the exploitation of mineral resources, a practice that is now prohibited by law. The controversial topic was in limbo for nearly two decades, but returned to the fore at the beginning of this year, with the resumption by Congress Law project, which deals with 1,610 mining on indigenous lands. A Special Commission was created in the Chamber to treat exclusively the subject in discussion in the House since 1996. The prediction is that a substitute of the original text is voted and forwarded to the Senate in the first half of July, and then following the presidential Samson. The proposal, if it is below as is, has everything to radically alter the photograph of mineral exploration in the country.
The story is by André Borges and published by the newspaper value, 5/9/2012.
The new rules, the entry of companies into indigenous lands is conditional on the payment of royalties to the Indians that have areas affected by mining. The company that operates the ore must shell out to the Indians something between 2% and 3% of the gross revenue determined in business throughout the time of exploitation. To administer this money will create a specific fund. The management of resources and of transfers that will be made to the Indians is in the hands of a Board of Directors composed of representatives of the Government, the National Indian Foundation (Funai), the Federal Prosecutor and the indigenous population affected.
The proposal in progress also changes the authorization model for mineral exploration. Today, the mining is given permission by the National Department of Mineral production (DNPM) to the first entrepreneur to present the technical study and application for exploration of the area, that is, the criterion is the order of arrival. In the case of indigenous reserves, this exploration would be subject to auctioning. The undertaking concerned would have to win a concession to explore the region, which would have its exploratory attested by preliminary feasibility surveys made by the Government. The bid of the areas only occur after conducting hearings with indigenous communities and anthropological reports, environmental and mineral, in addition to the issue of Prior environmental license granted by Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama).
Another controversial point is the criteria of decision on areas that could be exploited or not. It was established that indigenous lands occupied by villages that have never been contacted should be kept as they are, without any kind of exploratory action. In all, however, the final word on the possibility of execution of mining would be given by the Palácio do Planalto. In practice, it means that the Indians would always listen and would have space to present their requests for compensation for releasing the land, but would not have veto power over the execution of a project.
Funai supports the proposal. “We are following the matter closely and we hope that this solution come out this year,” says Molefi Guapindaia, Director of Sustainable Development Promotion Department of Funai.
Even with the resistance that the subject faces (see text below), the Rapporteur of the original project, Senator Romero Jucá (PMDB), States that the proposal has everything to be approved in the next semester. “The project is mature, the Government follows this issue closely and the Ministry of mines and energy advocates the regulation”, he says.
For the current project’s rapporteur in the House, Congressman Vincent Lee (PMDB-RR), the proposal has achieved a “balance” between the national interest and the indigenous demands. “For the first time, we have a great chance of adopting this matter. It’s time to regulate mining on indigenous lands. The country can no longer do without this potential, especially in the North of the country, “he says.
This week, the Special Commission’s mining Chamber went to São Gabriel da Cachoeira (AM), to hold a seminar on the subject with the indigenous community. On day 11, lawmakers will be in the city of Presidente Figueiredo, also in the Amazon. At the weekend, will follow in trip to the Canada, where the exploitation of indigenous lands by the royalty payment is already applied a long time ago. The idea, according to Mr father Tom (en-RO), Canadian model details spoon is to enhance the country’s proposal.
The Brazil has demarcated indigenous lands 608 today, areas that add up to 109 million hectares, equivalent to 13% of the national territory. Of this total, 98% are concentrated in the Amazon, an area that involves the States of Acre, Amazonas, Roraima, Pará, Amapá, Tocantins, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, and part of Maranhão.
The State of Roraima, for example, has almost half of its territory within Indian reservation. In the Amazon, this slice is 20%. The census conducted in 2010 by the Brazilian Institute of geography and statistics (IBGE) points out that 817 thousand people declared themselves indigenous, which equals 0.42% of the population of the country. The number surpassed 11% the volume recorded in the 2000 census.
Theme can bump in the judiciary
The release of Indian reservations for mining is still not a consensus in the Government and everything indicates that there will be difficulties to take the proposal forward. The Chairman of the Special Committee on mining in the Chamber, Mr father Tom (en-RO), admits that the Government has not yet clearly took the political burden which the project can generate, especially at a time when pending a definition about the direction of the Forestry Code and the Mining Code, which promises to substantially amend the rules and charges paid by enterprises in the extraction of ores.
“The Government must take a decisive stance. The Ministry of mines and energy has already informed that is absolutely favourable, but lack a clearer definition of the Ministry of Justice [that controls the Funai] and also of the Civil House, “says Mr father Tom. Funai is favorable to the regulation, according to Jay Guapindaia, Director of the Department to promote the sustainable development of the Foundation. The Civil House was sought by value, but did not send a placement on the subject until the closing of this edition.
The fear of parliamentarians, especially those of rural bench, is that the proposal has the same outcome of other controversial disputes that have involved indigenous lands, such as the continuous demarcation of the reserve Raposa Serra do Sol in Roraima. Mr Vincent Lee, who now reports the new text PL 1,610, was one of the opponents of the continuous demarcation of the Raposa Serra do Sol In 2009, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) has determined that arrozeiros and farmers who lived on Indian land to leave the area of 1.7 million hectares, equivalent to 12 times the size of the city of São Paulo.
Last week, the Supreme Court came to a conclusion in favour of the Indians, bringing down property titles that were given to farmers and farmers in the South of Bahia. In its decision, the Supreme Court recognized the right of Indians occupy the 54 thousand hectares of a region that, according to Funai, is part of an Indian reservation, although it had not been approved.
Whatever the final decision on mineral exploration in reserves, it is certain that the path must be full of loopholes for judicial disputes. For the indigenous missionary Council (Cimi), an organization linked to the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), the opening of the reserves will increase mining conflicts with the villages. “We are opposed to this proposal. In practice, what we see is that this condition for payment of the royalty is equally or more harmful Indian that ore extraction itself, “says Cleber Jeanie Raymond, Executive Secretary of the Ccme. “This condition stirs deeply with the culture of the indigenous people and creates a series of dependencies. We don’t have even the notion of the consequences that this can generate in the future. “
In reality, the approval of the second 1,610 PL, Jeanie Raymond would be an attempt to circumvent what was referred to in a previous regulation, amending the Statute of the Indian. The Bill, in which there are 2,057 21 years, deals with the issue of mining in one of its chapters and warrants to Indian the final decision on the authorization of the lavra. In the current text, 1,610 PL this veto power was removed, an indigenous imposition that Indians are not willing to abide by.
“We are not against the discussion of mining and we are open to debate until this broad consultation to reach every community, but we must be assured to guarantee our rights,” says Alex Luiz Santos Karipuna indigenous leadership, in Amapá. “Whoever wants to say yes to mining, which say it with tranquillity. Who want to say no, that has respected this position. “
The lack of understanding about the subject and the difficulty of discussing it with the communities also bothers Francisca Novantina Angelos, indigenous leader in the State of Mato Grosso. “We want to participate effectively to have clarity about what will be done. It is a theme difficult to understand for the indigenous movement, which does not have the technical and political discussion and, therefore, can be harmed, “he says.
More forceful still is the position of the articulation of indigenous peoples of Brazil (Apib). “We are being pressured to say yes to this project, and not to participate in a debate. And if we say no? We’ll be respected? “asks Ray Kaingang, representative of Apib.
(Ecodebate, 5/11/2012) published by IHU on-line, strategic partner in socialization of information. EcoDebate
[IHU on-line is published by Humanitas Institute of Unisinos-IHU, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos-Unisinos in Sao Leopoldo, RS.]
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