Mining is threat to land and indigenous communities
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Mining is threat to land and indigenous communities
“The most important thing is that, in the course of these years, there has been a total change in the focus of the discussions on the natural resources of the indigenous lands. The global climate crisis gave another dimension to the present and future importance of forests and their management by indigenous peoples and traditional populations “. The comment is the Instituto Socioambiental-ISA in editorial on its website, 4/10/2013, on bills allowing the release of mining on indigenous lands.
Here’s the editorial.
The issue of mining on Indigenous Lands returned to the debate in Congress and among indigenous peoples that will be directly affected by it, is always in the concerns of the ISA and the organizations. The ISA considers that currently the mining on indigenous lands is not priority for the mineral policy and the national development strategy, and meeting exclusively to private interests.
Considers that the possible payment of royalties for mining is far from being the best option to generate income for Indians. As any other explorers, the interlocutors of mining companies may even offer more immediate economic benefits to indigenous intermediaries, but their possible role in indigenous land damage other healthy income options and leave her enormous and irreversible damage, that will have to be borne by future generations. So, revisits the theme and opines from its inclusion in the Constitution of 1988, making a brief history of this matter is expensive and also to its indigenous partners.
The Constitution of 1988
The Constitution of 1988 established a separate regime of property and access to the soil and subsoil and their natural resources. Such a distinction is not obvious, philosophically speaking. Because no physical boundary between soil and subsoil. Or as investigated that old Indian friend: How do I get to the basement without going through soil? If you need the above, better not start what you have underneath.
During the constituent process, ISA ‘s predecessor organizations argued that the mineral exploration in indigenous lands should only occur if and when there is no availability of certain mineral well in other regions. The constitutional text the conditioned, generically, “national interest”, the prior authorisation of the National Congress, to prior “audience to affected communities” and to participate in economic results. Establishes the need to regulate the provisions of specific law. The PL No. 1610 and the substitute
Since 1996 the wheel in the National Congress a Bill, the Bill No. 1610, trying to open the doors of the TIs to mining. This project has already emerged and submerged several times in the political scenario, to depend on, especially, the price of gold on the international market and, more recently, the participation of mineral commodities in our balance of trade. As the price of gold began to rise, was formed, in 2012, a new Special Commission in the Chamber of deputies to try to finalize the project, already approved by the Senate. As strange as it may seem, this movement occurs in a completely parallel to the discussion of the new Mining Code, which must be sent soon to the National Congress by the plateau.
At various times the ISA presented suggestions to Governments and Congressional committees. Proposals have been drafted far in discussion. It is worth mentioning that most of the dilemmas that permeated historically this discussion had to do with administrative procedures for the granting of mining rights in General, incompatible with the constitutional principles, such as, for example, the principle of “right of priority”, by which a company or person acquires right to find ores and eventually exploit them by an application protocol by the National Department of Mineral production (DNPM). This rule constitutes a market of securities and so-called “grandfather rights” that overlaps the ore market itself, and even affect their development by bringing speculative interests.
For more than twenty years the Government has suspended the processing of applications incidents in indigenous lands. The ISA and its predecessor institutions have monitored (and published) this incidence. The first of these was in 1987, prepared as allowance for parliamentarians. There were then granted permits and 1,685 560 search requirements in 77 indigenous lands. Were all frozen by then Minister of mines and energy, Aureliano Chaves, justifying that you would expect the Constitution. Later, in 1998 and in 2004, other ISA publications updated these data . According to the most recent publication, there are now 104 research permits or concessions of lavras, and 4,116 152 incidents TIs – requirements in various stages in which they find themselves.While several titles were revoked, terminated or lapsed (560 in 1987 came to 104 in 2013), the number of applications filed increased by two and a half times.
The issue concerned the Receive Also Receive, on account of the increase in the price of gold on the international market, mining has experienced an important increase in the last 20 years, configuring itself as the biggest threat after oil exploration. All Amazon countries have mineral areas and these commit so important YOU: 19% of the total area of TIs in the Amazon are affected by mine areas .
Report published in March 2013 by Asociación y Sociedad Environment and Rights Resources named “las Extractive Industries Impact en Collective rights over Territories y Bosques de los Pueblos y las Comunidades“, examines the legislation, trends and impacts on indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant and peasant communities in four countries: Peru, Colombia, Panama and Guatemala .
Criticism of the PL
Since his presentation, the replacement to Bill No. 1,610 has been the target of numerous criticisms from various sectors of society, by promoting greatly the interested companies and offer few guarantees to indigenous peoples affected. Rewinds in many ways not only in relation to the proposal drawn up by the National Commission on Indigenous Policy, and included in the status of Indigenous Societies, but also in relation to the proposal drawn up in 2007 by the Federal Government, and that subsidized the substitutive presented by Mr Eduardo Valverde (PT/RO).
One of the worst aspects of the current version, whose rapporteur is Mr Vincent Lee (PMDB/RR), historically linked to the sector of mining, is the fact that the affected communities will have to submit to the interests of the mining companies and the Government, even if they say no to be queried for the completion of mineral exploration activities in the lands they occupy.
In addition, the project makes the project environmental assessment, since it requires the preparation of in-depth studies only at the end of the procedure, when it is already pretty much OK. Does not speak of guarantees against environmental disasters, or the independent audit and periodic need to inform the Indians of the enterprise and its economic results, since they have, by the Federal Constitution, the right to participation in the results of the lavra.
But the most important thing is that, in the course of these years, there has been a total change in the focus of the discussions on the natural resources of the indigenous lands. The global climate crisis gave another dimension to the present and future importance of forests and their management by indigenous peoples and traditional populations.
With more than 98% of its forests still preserved, and occupying 13% of the national territory, the 688 TIs in various stages of recognition are true of environmental services, which benefit more the Brazilian population in general than gold that can them be removed. The priority of the National Congress, therefore, should not be approving a project which will promote the replacement of preserved forest and rivers clean by immense craters and polluted rivers. Should be the discussion and approval of compensation policies for environmental services to indigenous populations and economic activities, investment in these areas, which are compatible with the conservation of the forest alive.