Ministry of Defense Bars Ibama Inspection against Illegal Mining in Pará

Mundurucus miners board a FAB plane for talks with the federal government in Brasília; ministry says interruption is for reassessment


The Ministry of Defense barred this Thursday morning (6), three Ibama helicopters from taking off from the Serra do Cachimbo airbase in southwest Pará.

The aircraft are part of an operation against illegal gold mining in the region. The day before, agents from the environmental agency had destroyed equipment to extract the mineral inside the Munduruku Indigenous Land.

Major Brigadier Ar Arnaldo Augusto do Amaral Neto gave the order to the Ibama board apparently in reaction to protests.

Indígenas mundurucus pró-garimpo embarcam em avião da FAB em Jacareacanga (PA) rumo a Brasília, onde participariam de reuniões do governo sobre exploração de ouro
Mundurucus miners board a FAB plane for talks with the federal government in Brasília - Divulgação

On Wednesday (5), gold miners temporarily closed the Jacareacanga airport after the federal environmental agency destroyed ten PCs (backhoes) in mines within TI Munduruku, according to an unofficial report. Each of the machines is valued at approximately R$ 500 thousand.

On Thursday, a group of Mundurucus miners boarded a Brazilian Air Force (FAB) plane in Jacareacanga en route to Brasília to hold meetings with the federal government on the subject. Indigenous leaders opposed to mining, however, were not invited to participate in the discussions.

The stoppage of inspection exposes divergences in Ibama and the Armed Forces, responsible for Operation Green Brazil 2, to combat illicit environmental activities in the Amazon. The military has opposed the destruction of equipment by environmental offenders, a practice permitted by current legislation.

In a note, the Ministry of Defense reported that the actions in TI Munduruku "were interrupted for reassessment," but that "Operation Verde Brasil 2, to combat environmental crimes in the Legal Amazon, is still in progress".

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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