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In Brazil : Court suspends decree allowing Amazon reserve mining

30 Août 2017

A Brazilian court has suspended a government decree that would open up a vast natural reserve in the Amazon to commercial mining.

President Michel Temer's decree published in the official government gazette earlier in August would have allowed mining in an area of roughly 17,800 square miles (46,100 square kilometers) that has been protected since 1984.

Spanholo said that the government had failed to consult Congress, as required under the constitution, and that the decree would "put at risk the environmental protection (of Renca) and the protection of local indigenous communities".

The text goes as far as to say that obtaining the rights to mining certification will be tied to proof of not having participated previously in illegal mining activities.

The government insists that vital areas within the reserve, including where indigenous people live, will remain off limits.

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Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, a number of celebrities including Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen and Brazil's influential Catholic hierarchy have spoken out against the government attempt to open the reserve. Temer claimed that opening up the area to mining was part of his program to boost Brazil's weak economy.

The Renca decision dovetailed with the announcement of sweeping privatizations of state-owned companies, ranging from an airport in Sao Paulo to the national mint, which makes bank notes and passports.

But this may be only a temporary reprieve for the area, which is thought to contain deposits of gold, copper, tantalum, iron ore, nickel and manganese.

That did not satisfy critics, including the federal prosecutor's office, which said the decree threatened "ecocide", and asked for the court injunction.

But opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues denounced the move as "the biggest attack on the Amazon in the last 50 years".

In Brazil : Court suspends decree allowing Amazon reserve mining