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President Temer Eliminates Amazon Reserve to Open Up Mining Exploration

08/24/2017 - 11h35

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PHILLIPPE WATANABE
FERNANDO TADEU MORAES
FROM SÃO PAULO

On Wednesday (the 23rd) President Michel Temer eliminated an environmental reserve of 46,450 sq km (17,800 square miles) - an area equivalent in size to the state of Espírito Santo - on the border area between Pará and Amapá, known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca).

The region holds mineral reserves including gold, iron and copper.

The decree states that the elimination "does not rule out the application of specific legislation regarding protection of native vegetation, nature conservation units, [and] indigenous lands".

Luiz Jardim Wanderley, a researcher from UERJ University and a member of the National Committee for the Defense of Territory Against Mining, declared that the elimination has, first and foremost, a political impact.

"It puts more pressure on these indigenous lands and UCs (conservation units), opening up another area to mining. It's an indication that the Temer government will relax restrictions in areas that still have them", he said.

According to Mariana Napolitano, coordinator of the science nucleus of WWF Brasil, the growing interest in mining in the area could lead to a reduction in protected areas and gold rushes.

This would result in a demographic explosion, more deforestation and contamination of water resources with heavy metals, in addition to the threat to traditional indigenous populations, she said.

The Environmental Ministry (MMA) reaffirms the decree's assertion and says that the conservation units in the area will be unaffected.

The MMA went on to declare that "any undertaking that could cause an impact on conservation units is subject to specific licensing procedures, which guarantee the maintenance of the socio-environmental characteristics of the protected areas".

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

Read the article in the original language

Agência Pará
The region holds mineral reserves including gold, iron and copper
The region holds mineral reserves including gold, iron and copper

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