Brazil’s government to present bill allowing mining on indigenous reserves

Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. (Image by Neil Palmer, CIAT)

Brazil’s government will present a bill later this month giving more leeway to mining in the country, including allowing mines on indigenous land, Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said on Thursday.

The bill, which is already being analyzed by the president’s chief of staff, will also look to legalize more small-scale, independent wildcat mines, many of which now operate illegally, the minister said at a ceremony in Brasilia.

In July, the Mines and Energy ministry announced the creation of a working group to analyze how best to simplify Brazil’s mineral prospecting process.

Conservative President Jair Bolsonaro has sought to open up indigenous reservations to mining, logging and farming, which observers say has helped fuel the fires that have swept through the Amazon rainforest this year.

(By Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Jamie McGeever and Jake Spring)

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