MAC: Mines and Communities

Mining Exploration Causing Alarm in Protected Areas of Brazil

Published by MAC on 2006-04-20

Mining Exploration Causing Alarm in Protected Areas of Brazil

20th April 2006

BRAZIL- Adital - A publication of the Socioenvironmental Institute (Instituto Socioambiental, or ISA) has shown that the pressure of mining companies is one of the gravest threats to the integrity of plant life of the the forests of the region, including protected areas. The creation of Conservation Unities (Unidades of Conservación, or UC) in Amazonia, according to the report, is one of the most important projects of environmental protection of the Lula government, and of the almost 80 million hectacres which exist in the federal UCs today, some 15 million hectacres were created by decrees signed by the President. However, a large part of these areas are not really protected from one of the economic activities of highest environmental impact: Mining. According to information obtained from the Mining Registry, maintained by the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM), the investigation reveals that of 40,144 mining claims in Amazonia, 5,283 are in Federal UCs and 88 in State UCs.

Furthermore, of the total number of valid mining claims in the DNPM, 406 are under exploration or exploitation in 32 Unities of Conservation of Integral Protection and in 23 Extractive Reserves (Resex), where mining activity is not permitted. Another 571 claims are under exploration or exploitation in 33 UCs of Sustainable Use, mainly in National and State Protected Forests, in which mining activity is to be strictly controlled.

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