An illegal mining camp within Yanomami territory. The new law just passed in Roraima could greatly increase invasions of Indigenous reserves by miners. Image courtesy of ISA. Brazil’s most northern state, Roraima, is on the verge of legalizing garimpo wildcat mining, a move backed by local politicians and mining cooperatives as a way to create jobs and revenue in one of Brazil’s least developed states. Garimpeiros are prospectors who often mine illegally in Indigenous areas and on conserved lands sometimes working for themselves, but often hired in well equipped, gold mining operations financed by wealthy elites. The new law, just approved by the state’s legislature is awaiting a signature by Roraima state Governor Antonio Denarium, an ally to President Jair Bolsonaro. The law would not permit mining on Indigenous lands or within environmentally protected areas. But it would legalize mining claims on state lands without prior studies, along with the use of toxic mercury in gold processing, and the expansion of the size of mining claims. Human rights and Indigenous groups in the Amazon state say the measure, if signed into law, will cause irreparable damage to rivers and ecosystems on which local populations depend for food and freshwater, and will likely lead to increased invasions of Indigenous reserves, resulting in an uptick in illegal deforestation and violent conflict. “Today, we have a serious problem with the impact of illegal mining inside Indigenous lands,” Ivo Aureliano, a lawyer with Roraima’s Indigenous Council (CIR) told Mongabay. “With this law we believe…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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