Indigenous rights organisations fear that the activity causes environmental damage and jeopardize the customs of traditional peoples, making them dependent on external financial resources. Also criticize the substitute for not giving veto power to communities and not protect areas within the reserves to cults, growing grain and housing. After cries of the indigenous movement, Funai secured a calendar of public hearings, so that the affected ethnic groups could be heard. The first is scheduled for next Thursday in Rio Branco (AC).
Although most of the applications be mid 4,519 90, over the past two years the number of requests returned to rise: 102 in 2011 and 127 in 2012. This year, there are already 12. Who leads the list is Silvana, mining group Santa Elina (738). Then come the Valley (211, three of which were filed in 2011), mining Tanagra (176); Mining Sierra Morena (166) and mining Itamaracá (125), controlled by Anglo.
Anglo said that “since 1996 maintains several applications for mining research by the DNPM, in order to identify and map mineral resources that could Harbour operations in the future”. Representatives of the Sierra Morena were not found. Other companies don’t have.
The draft provides that requests are cancelled and making bids for the research in the reserves. But the mining companies remain active, with the expectation that the current rules are kept. Today, applications are reviewed in order of arrival in the DNPM.
What is behind this movement is the recent high prices of commodities and the proximity of the exhaustion of mineral reserves in the world, which has led companies to press the Government to release mining in lands untouched. Since 2008, the price of gold has doubled. Not by chance, is he the target of half (2,263) applications.
The release of new exploratory frontiers must be understood in the context of the changes of Mineral in the country Code:
— There is a tendency in South America for Governments to change the rules of mining, with the aim of fostering economic development and, at the same time, expand the participation of the State in these riches, aiming at obtaining resources for social programmes. It’s called neoextrativismo — says Bruno Martinez, of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, which studies environmental conflicts and mining.
The largest number of requests (664) focuses on the lands of ianomamis. According to calculations of the socio-environmental Institute (ISA), these requirements cover 55% of its territory. Cases even more alarming are the Xikrin reserves of Cateté and Chest, both in Pará, where applications cover 100% and 93% of the territory.
In addition to the risk of environmental degradation, representatives of the indigenous movement fear that mining create a dependency property of the Indians in relation to external resources, since they are provided for in the substitutive transfers of at least 5% of the gross revenues from mining companies for affected communities. They fear that there is a replacement of the obligations of the State, such as the provision of health, by compensatory measures offered by the companies.
— Indigenous peoples who are in the areas of influence of large enterprises market basket and receive money, which inhibits the elders to pass on traditional knowledge about farming and hunting. The same will happen with mining. When the activity ends and the source of resources, new generations will not take the Earth their livelihood — says Cleber Buzatto, Executive Secretary of the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi).
Constitution provides for consultation with Indians
Critics also oppose the draft because this does not envisage veto power to the Indians. If they do not accept the mining on their lands, a Committee which are not participating, will decide for them. Another controversial point is that there are safeguards for the reservation. In theory 100% of the land can be targeted by mining.
The Constitution does not envisage that the Indians give the final word on raging in their reserves. In the third paragraph of article 231, it is said that this decision rests with the Congress, but indigenous peoples should be consulted, “getting them ensured participation in the results of the tills, in the form of the law”. In the absence of this, the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization on indigenous and tribal peoples, ratified by Brazil in 2002, which insists on consultation with Indians “through appropriate procedures”.
The problem is that there is still no parameters for these procedures — whether the hearing should be in the native language, for example. An inter-ministerial group was formed with this aim in 2012, but did not come to any conclusion. Funai then decided to organize the hearings, which will be held by June. About mining in Indian lands, the Foundation says that discussions should be made “in conjunction with the status of indigenous peoples”, under review. To critics, the theme is handled in Bill to give speed for its approval. The Ministry of mines and energy, in turn, says that “the regulation of activities on indigenous lands is essential for formalization of illegal mines”.
— The text of the Constitution was possible in 1988, such pressure from mining companies. We cannot let the Indians out of the discussion — says Ricardo Verdum, anthropologist at the University of Brasilia.
The author of the substitute, the Congressman Vincent Lee (PMDB/RR), stresses that its design creates long-term funds so that the Indians are not left unprotected and that the reservations of people whose “cultural stage” does not enable them to understand the debate will be preserved. He drops the veto power to the Indians and is expected to vote on the project later this year.
— Mining in Indian lands will happen with or without consent, then it is better that they negotiate.