Brazil’s President Makes Good on Campaign Promise to Evict Miners from Indigenous Reserves in the Amazon
When President ‘Lula’ da Silva took office this year in Brazil, many environmental and indigenous rights groups hoped he would fulfill campaign promises of better protection for the Amazon rainforest and the people who live there.
Nearly four months into his tenure and early signs are that Lula was telling the truth, as Brazilian police have evicted dozens of illegal gold miners from the Yanomami Reserve, an area the size of Portugal inhabited by around 35,000 tribesmen.
Illegally-mined gold accounts for around half of all the country’s exports, and a new Environment of the Amazon division of the federal police is seeking international assistance in building a first-rate structure for targeting the outside funding toward and sales from illegal gold mining.
Reuters says that so far, the new division has ousted nearly all miners from the area, including overseeing the destruction of 250 mining camps and 70 low-tech boats used for dredging. 48 planes and helicopters for smuggling the gold out of the reserve have been seized as well.
The police hope to use radioisotope technology and methods to be able to pinpoint the exact mineralogical makeup of illegally mined gold as a way of targeting it in the market even after it’s melted into ingots.
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They also plan to remove miners from 6 other Amazon reserves this year, while setting up a permanent, floating police station on a river in the Yanomami Reserve.
At the moment, the Lula Administration is considering the best set of laws for tackling the problem. While 804 miners have been arrested in the raids, all were let go, and many others fled in the police advance.
Humberto Freire, from the new Amazon division, told Reuters he and his department hope to create a sophisticated electronic tax receipt for any transactions of precious metals to help pinpoint sales and distribution of suspected illegal bullion.
WATCH the story below from Reuters…
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