Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Brazil's opening of Amazon to mining sets off alarm
By Carola SOLÉ
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Aug 25, 2017

When most of the world talks about the riches of the Amazon they mean the unique rainforest and so-called lungs of the planet.

But Brazilian President Michel Temer has given the nod to a more literal sense of riches -- mineral extraction -- leaving environmentalists and activists including Gisele Bundchen up in arms.

Temer's decision issued Wednesday scrapped a national reserve in the northern Para and Amapa states that had protected a 17,800 square mile (46,000 square km) area since 1984, when Brazil was still run by a military dictatorship.

The Reserva Nacional del Cobre y Asociados is bigger than Denmark and home to virgin forest, as well as indigenous territories of the Aparai, Wayana and Wajapi tribes.

But it also contains important reserves of gold, manganese, iron and copper -- and Temer believes cash-strapped Brazil should start digging.

Until now, state-owned companies had a right to exploit the resources, but rarely did. Temer's measure will open the door to private business.

Temer's aim with the decree is not just to boost the industry but to bring control over activity that is already being performed by illegal miners who use destructive methods that poison the rivers with mercury.

In addition, Temer promises that the mining will not take place in special conservation areas, only outside. "Our promise is to bring sustainable development in the Amazon, uniting environmental protection with revenue generating for the local population," he said.

But analysts are skeptical that much good can come from a president who leans increasingly on the powerful agro-industrial lobby for his political survival amid swirling corruption scandals.

"The measure is meant to bring economic expansion, but it could bring a huge impact. What price will be paid in such a sensitive area as the Amazon?" asked Ely Paiva, an expert at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio.

- Mining disaster -

The World Wildlife Fund says private mining expansion will risk irreversible damage both to the environment and the indigenous peoples.

"It's a tragedy waiting to happen," said WWF's director in Brazil, Mauricio Voivodic.

"This can cause deforestation, contamination of rivers and ramp up activities like illegal mining. It's about going back to an old vision of the Amazon as a source of natural resources."

Voivodic pointed to the disaster at the Samarco iron ore mine in the Minas Gerais region in 2015 that killed 19 and sent huge quantities of toxic mud flooding into a major river system.

"This decree is the biggest attack on the Amazon in the last 50 years. Even the military dictatorship didn't dare," said leftist Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, who is planning to challenge the decree in court.

Campaigns on social media are going under hashtags like "SOS Amazonia" and Bundchen has given glamorous weight to the resistance.

"What a disgrace. They're selling off our Amazon!" she tweeted.

Bundchen gets listened to in her native Brazil. In June, Temer told her in a tweet that he was promising to veto laws that would reduce protected areas in the Amazon.

But only days later Temer was told by Norway, a huge funder of measures to protect the Amazon, that it was halving payments in response to Brazil's failure to act against deforestation.

How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest
Princeton NJ (SPX) Aug 23, 2017
In the mid-1990s, 1,000 truckloads of orange peels and orange pulp were purposefully unloaded onto a barren pasture in a Costa Rican national park. Today, that area is covered in lush, vine-laden forest. A team led by Princeton University researchers surveyed the land 16 years after the orange peels were deposited. They found a 176 percent increase in aboveground biomass - or the wood in t ... read more

Related Links
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Italy's deadly flirtation with illegal building

Death toll in DR Congo landslide climbs to 140

Death toll from South Asia flooding tops 1,000

Myanmar man faces jail for speaking about child soldier past

Defeating cyberattacks on 3-D printers

Understanding brittle crack behaviors to design stronger materials

Researchers use vacuum for hands-free patterning of liquid metal

Solidifying advanced alloy design

Fish stress hormones linked to tendency to take the bait

Risky business for fish in oil-polluted reef waters

Japanese seaweed is welcome invader on US coasts: study

Climate change deepens threat to Pacific island wildlife

Satellite photos reveal gigantic outburst floods

Methane hydrate is not a smoking gun in the Arctic Ocean

Study validates East Antarctic ice sheet to remain stable even if western ice sheet melts

Scientists are recruiting Alaskans to help them track berry patches

Can 'reading' leaves lead to more drought-tolerant crops

Ray of hope for more abundant wheat crops

Adding silicon to soil to strengthen plant defenses

Wild sheep grazed in the Black Desert 14,500 years ago

Typhoon Hato leaves 16 dead after lashing southern China

Italy mourns Amatrice, where quake wounds still weep

24 million affected by South Asia floods: Red Cross

Hero boy saved little brother when Italy quake struck

Angolans vote as Dos Santos ends 38-year rule

Death toll in SLeone flood disaster reaches 441

Africa Endeavor 2017 communications conference starts in Malawi

Dalai Lama cancels Botswana trip with 'exhaustion'

Both chimpanzees and humans spontaneously imitate each other's actions

Research reveals how neurons communicate

New 13-million-year-old infant skull sheds light on ape ancestry

To teach kids morals, read books with humans not animals

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement