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February 10, 2020 - Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is proposing a controversial bill to allow commercial mining on protected indigenous lands, a move that environmentalists say can only speed up deforestation.
The bill to regulate mining including oil and gas projects, as well as hydroelectric dams, on indigenous reservations for the first time, will need to be approved by Congress
Bolsonaro has long railed against Brazil’s indigenous people for occupying too much land, 13% of the country, and hindering economic development of untold mineral resources hidden there, from gold and diamonds to niobium and rare earths.
Brazil is home to about 300 tribes, which mostly oppose commercial mining because they fear it would endanger their fragile local economies and communities. The groups are already under threat from illegal loggers and gold miners.
Deforestation in the Amazon – a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming – soared in 2019, the first year of right-winger Bolsonaro’s presidency.
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