“Ixakabigue dana toya õme same and”, or “mining is a major threat to all of us”.

Brazil: mining on Indian land can be approved in 2013


Chris Kokubo February 21, 2013

The green area surrounded by deforestation is the indigenous land on September 7, where the Surui-Paiter. Source: Google Earth

Near the town of Cacoal, on the border of Rondônia and Mato Grosso, there is a piece missing on the Green map, delimited by square cut of gray and Brown. The isolated patch of forest preserved is the Indian territory on September 7, address the Surui-Paiter. Underneath it, the National Department of Mineral production has mapped the existence of gold, Tin, diamonds, nickel, granite, manganese and rare earths. The Department, known by the acronym DNPM, belongs to the Ministry of mines and energy and is responsible for granting permission for mining in Brazil.
For now, the Surui-Paiter have nothing to fear, because there are few chances to get permission to legally mine on indigenous lands. Márcio Santilli, a founding partner of the socio-environmental Institute (ISA), explains that “the Constitution allows the Congress to grant permission to research and exploitation of the mineral mining in indigenous territories”. He says, however, there is currently no legal mining activity in this type of land. And, second the DNPM, there are applications for authorisation.
But that could change, and soon, if the Bill 1610, of 1996, is approved. Authored by Senator Romero Jucá (PMDB-Roraima), the Bill we are discussing 1610 for almost two decades in the House of representatives and is expected to regulate mining on indigenous lands. Should be voted in the second half of 2013.
In addition to mining the net worth, as it has been called the 1610, clears another Bill, the creation of the Status of indigenous peoples (2057/91). “The PL status brings a 14-page chapter on mining, discussed for three years between the leaders that make up the National Commission on Indigenous Policy (CNPI),” said the Press Office of Funai. Indigenous peoples and the Funai want the decision on resource extraction on indigenous lands is of the natives.
However, indigenous peoples may have little voice in the final result. Mr Father Ton (en Rondônia) is the Chairman of the Special Commission created to examine the 1610. According to him, “most members of the Commission is committed to the mining sector. Of the more than 20 members of the Special Committee, just 4 or 5 effectively work for the maximum participation of Indians to be contemplated “.
Under pressure
The Government has an interest that the 1610 has an outcome this year. “There is a myth of mining being carried out by large companies in Indian territory in Brazil. What are requirements for research. However, if well done, [mining] could be a source of redress for indigenous peoples. It is possible to treat waste and mitigate the impact, “said Arnaldo Castro Filho, Director of Territorial Management of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs (SAE) of the Presidency of the Republic.
Santilli, ISA, explains that there are mining in indigenous territories contiguous areas: “Carajás, Vale’s concession, is nearby of Xicrin, and it is known that the company’s request by the DNPM on Earth. But one thing is the mineral exploration itself and another is the mining title, which increases the value of the company and does not mean that there is effective exploitation, only the interest declared “.
It clarifies that the mining interest in indigenous territories in the Brazilian Amazon is manifested by search requests, not holding on to each other: “there may be some search authorization, or even granting lavra still inactive, in cases where it limits definition after the granting of the mining law.”
Sought for comment EN 1610, Is sent by his press office the following comment: “Vale does not operate in indigenous lands, but there are traditional people in the influence area of its operations. In the relationship with these communities, seeks to establish a constructive relationship of mutual benefit, respect for cultural diversity and the rights of these populations “.
On the page of the National Department of Mineral production (DNPM) on the internet, are available for consultation the 20 types of possible requirements next to the organ, among them the search authorization, license logging, mining prospecting and extraction, logging each with prerequisites and specific processing times.
The atlas “Amazon under pressure” , document produced under the coordination of the ISA and released at the end of 2012, makes a detailed analysis of the current threats to the Pan-Amazon, and States that “between all areas of mining interest that are of Amazonian indigenous territories request, 88% (348,992 km2) are concentrated in Brazil”. According to the publication, there is 348,992 km2 in request for mining; 16,932 km2 in research; 24,164 km2 and in exploration.
In the indigenous territories of the Amazonian countries and 8 from French Guiana, the areas of mining interest spread for 407,320 km2, or 19% of the total area of indigenous territories in the Amazon, which exceeds the sum of the territories of Germany and the Netherlands.

The indigenous Xikrin Cateté: hover over blue and light blue polygons to see information about requested areas and mined. Map generated with InfoAmazônia

New gold rush
Over the past 20 years, according to the atlas, protected natural Areas (PNA) and Indigenous Territories (TI) of the Amazon have been suffering pressure with increasing small-scale gold mining and illegal, held on the banks or bed of the rivers. “The illegal gold mining is responsible for a third of global contamination by mercury and it is estimated that more than 100 tons of the product are used each year in the Amazon. The price of gold has risen 500% in the last 10 years and is based on an extractive model semi-mecanizado, which causes River sedimentation, loss of biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems, soil amendment and forest destruction, “according to the document.
Beto Ricardo, also founder of the ISA and General Coordinator of the atlas, said that “the illegal mining advances and contaminate entire ecosystems, begets violence and serious side effects. The Yanomami territory is in a forest and mountain region and was the scene of massive invasion from Roraima in the second half of the Decade of 1980, which resulted in the deaths of 15% of the Yanomami Indians in Brazil. “
Ricardo says that 37% of National Protected Areas of 7 countries suffer impacts of illegal mining. The region of Madre de Dios, Peru, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname and the Yanomami territory for years are the most affected by the illegal extraction of ores.
“There are many conflicts linked to mining in Peru. Recently, it was decided to adopt the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, which makes mandatory the consent of indigenous peoples to any mine or oil well exploration. However, the results will only be felt in a few years, “says Nadia Regalado, a lawyer who works with issues of mining in Peru.
PL 1610/96
After the text is finalized text by the rapporteur, Mr Vincent Lee (PMDB-Roraima), the Bill will not the plenary for the vote, but will be forwarded straight to the Senate, which must analyze it in the second half. “There is interest from many that this is resolved this year,” says Father Ton.
“The important thing is to listen to indigenous communities and ensure that they have access to all the information. The authority can be as harmful as the mineral exploration itself, “says Raynald Bulgarelli, consultant and coordinator of the course of Sustainability and Corporate Social responsibility, published by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo. For six years, Bulgarelli represented Unicef in projects related to indigenous tribes in the Amazon. On sustainable mining, have caveats: “there is progress and serious companies involved, but will always be a negative impact, even though mitigated”.
Santilli agrees: “because it is the operation of a non-renewable, is not as sustainable as well. But the impacts will vary in each case. Royalty Management should also be considered, since in the event of a sudden, a quantity of money will enter the daily reality of the Indians. The whole assumption introduces a new world “.
“If well conducted, it can be a win-win process. There is the interest of the Government to review the concessions, to regulate what is feasible and beneficial to the natives and to the mining companies, “said Arnaldo Castro Filho, of the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs of the Presidency. The atlas concludes the chapter about the threat of mining on the grounds that “much of the interests are concentrated in the periphery of Amazonia, committing significantly protected natural areas and indigenous territories.
The Indian territory on September 7, for example, was invaded by miners in search of gold in 1998. “As they did not find large quantity, withdrew. It is a matter that concerns us because it can bring conflict, social and environmental impacts for our land “, says Almir Surui, leader of the Surui-Paiter. Almir is quoted by the press for having made partnership with Google for the Surui land monitoring. Accustomed to the commercialization of carbon credits, he comments in his mother tongue the regulation of mining in indigenous lands: “Ixakabigue dana toya õme same and”, or “mining is a major threat to all of us”.


* published in 2/22/13 at 2:10


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