Brazil Wants Its Share of Indian Riches

The Brazilian government wants mining to cease on Indian lands. For this purpose, it set up an operational group which has 15 days to submit proposals to monitor and ensure the adoption of adequate and suitable measures to prevent all forms of mining on Indian lands.


By Luciana Vasconcelos

The group should especially examine mining within the territories of the Roosevelt, Serra Morena, and Apiruanã reservations and the Aripuanã Indian Park, all located in the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso.


The group is made up of three representatives of the Ministry of Justice – one from the Federal Police, one from the Federal Highway Police, and one from the National Indian Foundation (Funai) -, and one each from the Presidential Office of Institutional Security, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Department of Mineral Production, linked to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.


A conflict between Cinta-Larga Indians, from the Roosevelt reservation, and prospectors early in April caused 29 deaths in the region, in Rondônia.


The reservation, which is 580 kilometers from the state capital, Porto Velho, contains one of the world’s largest diamond reserves. Luiz Paulo Barreto, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, informed that mining on reservations is prohibited.


According to the Secretary, the reservation is protected today by 20 Federal Police officers, 20 Federal Highway Police officers, and 10 military police officers from Rondônia.


Barreto affirmed that, if necessary, the detail could be reinforced, and the Armed Forces could also be called upon to guarantee security in the locale.


The Roosevelt reservation is currently the object of illegal mining activities by local prospectors and even the Indians themselves.


“This reservation lies within an Indian village and is the object of general plunder,” Barreto observed.


“The information we have is that diamonds worth many millions of dollars have left this region and gone directly into the hands of international smugglers,” he pointed out.


The Secretary also informed that approximately US$ 1 million were allocated for the Funai to implant projects in the region, to enable the Indians to manage without having to extract diamonds.


He said that the lands are closed to mining, pending the approval of a project to regulate mineral extraction on Indian lands. There is currently a bill before the National Congress to regulate mineral extraction in these areas.


“What is essential is to regulate [these activities] in an intelligent manner, safeguarding the Indians’ interest, patrimony, and culture; providing for environmental restoration; and determining that the Union will be the biggest recipient of benefits from the subsoil,” he underscored.


According to Barreto, the regulations state that the Indians will be consulted about mining on their lands. With permission from the Indians, the Ministry of Justice will send the National Congress specific authorization requests for each mineral deposit.


If the Congress assents, the government can call for bids. The winning firm will be expected to pay the government royalties for quarrying the diamonds, take responsibility for restoring the environment, and establish a fund for the Indians.


Agência Brasil
Translator: David Silberstein

Tags:

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil to Welcome Sex Tourist with Handcuffs

The Minister of Tourism, Walfrido Mares Guia, asserted, on December 3, that the Brazilian ...

Brazilian community paper printed in the US East Coast

Brazil – Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries an estimated 3.5 million people from ...

Foreign Investors Make Brazilian Stocks Boom

Latin American markets had a robust session, with international investors continuing to boost the ...

Brazil’s Ex Chief of Staff Proposes Common Currency for South America

Brazil’s ex-chief of staff of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and former federal ...

Banks Upbeat about Brazil

Brazil Central Bank’s latest weekly survey of how 100 financial institutions and consultancy firms see ...

Let Senna Rest in Peace, Brazil!

It is typical of the natives of São Paulo, Brazil, that they should make ...

Economist Calls Brazil’s Monetary Policy Inconsistent

Roberto Macedo, one of Brazil’s best-known economists and commentators, says the government’s inflation targeting ...

Over 70% of Brazilian Exporters Affected by World Crisis

Seventy three percent of Brazilian exporters were affected by the international financial crisis. The ...

South Korea to Buy Brazilian Poultry and Beef

In an audience January 20, a group of lawmakers from South Korea informed the ...

Getting High in Porto Alegre or If Only Lula Were My President

Dateline: Porto Alegre, Brazil. If the critics of globalization who massed here are divided ...