Gold mining threatens indigenous forests in the Brazilian Amazon

By John C. Cannon 

  • MAAP, a program of the organization Amazon Conservation, has documented more than 102 square kilometers (40 square miles) of mining-linked deforestation in the indigenous reserves of Kayapó, Munduruku and Yanomami in Brazil. Mongabay had exclusive access to the report prior to its release.
  • Though mining is still illegal in indigenous reserves under Brazilian law, President Jair Bolsonaro has introduced a bill awaiting a vote in Congress that would to allow mining, oil and gas extraction and other uses of these lands.
  • Human rights groups like Survival International hold Bolsonaro and his policies responsible for the loss of forest, as well as mercury pollution, societal disruption and the introduction of diseases such as malaria and potentially COVID-19 that result from mining.
  • The groups say Bolsonaro’s rhetoric, in favor of developing the Amazon, has emboldened would-be miners.

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