A community on the Rio Araguari in the state of Amapá, Brazil. (© Conservation International/photo by Bailey Evans)
Editor’s note: This post was updated Friday, September 1, 2017. On August 30, the government of Brazil reversed the decree opening the area to mining and put the issue up for public discussion. Watch this space for further details.
Brazil last week announced that it had opened a strategic mineral reserve in the Amazon to mining, the BBC reported. The area, spanning the states of Amapá and Para in the northern heart of the Amazon rainforest, is massive — about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined — and is believed to be rich in gold, iron and other minerals.
Amapá, explained Rodrigo Medeiros, vice president of Conservation International (CI) Brazil, is one of the conservation states of the Amazon. “Removing restrictions on mining in one of the richest areas of the Amazon, without proper discussion with society, is quite foolhardy. It is putting nature and people at risk.” There are several other activities suited to this region, he continued, such as agro-extractivism and sustainable forestry management. “These other activities have economic potential as great as industrial extractive activities, but they do not receive the attention and investment they need.”