Companies do more than 4.5 thousand requests to explore copper gold on indigenous lands

 

Companies do more  than 4.5 thousand requests to explore copper gold on indigenous lands

Requirements are concentrated in 17 reservations in Legal  Amazon, like those of the ianomamise of the Kayapo people. Among  the interested companies are giants, as the Valley, and up to multinationals  such as anglo-South African Anglo American

Danielle Nogueira

Published:3/2/13- 5:40 pm
While the Government races against time to pull out  of the controversial paper substitutive to Bill 1610/96 which regulates mining  in Indian lands, requests for mining research in these areas don’t stop arriving  at the national mining Research Department (DNPM). At the  request of the GLOBE survey reveals that there are search requirements 4,519 in  indigenous lands awaiting the approval of Congress. They  are concentrated in 17 reservations in Legal Amazon, like those of ianomamis  (RR) and of the Kayapo people, and have targeted from gold and copper to nickel  and Tin. Among the interested companies are giants, as  Vale, and up to multinationals such as anglo-South African Anglo American.

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.

 

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