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Brazil’s Bolsonaro Government Wants to Circumvent the Constitution to Allow Mining on Indigenous Lands

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

For many years, international and Brazilian mining companies have dreamed of getting access to the mineral wealth lying beneath indigenous lands. And finally, the government of Jair Bolsonaro seems determined to give them that opportunity. On March 4th, while Brazilians were distracted by Carnival celebrations, the new Minister of Mines and Energy Admiral Bento Albuquerque announced plans to permit mining on indigenous land.

Speaking at the annual convention of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, a major event in the mining world that attracts tens of thousands of attendees, the minister said that Brazil’s indigenous people would be given a voice but not a veto in the matter. The opening of indigenous ancestral territories to mining, he predicted, would “bring benefits to these communities and to the country.”

He also said that he intends to allow mining right up to Brazil’s borders, abolishing the current 93-mile wide mining buffer zone at the frontier.

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