The project to change the Mining Code is in the incubation process in the Chamber of Deputies, in a working group created by Arthur Lira. The report by Deputy Greyce Elias (Avante-MG), which is to be voted on, proposes that mining be considered an activity of “public utility”, of “social interest” and “essential to human life”.
Yes, you read that right. In the country where nearly 300 people died in two recent disasters in the sector, mining would come to be considered “essential to human life”. The essence of the report is to reduce the regulatory and supervisory role of the State, transforming it into a mere beadle of the interests of mining companies.
The proposal also reduces the power of states and municipalities, subordinating them to the decisions of the National Mining Agency (ANM). Urban expansion plans and the creation of conservation units, for example, would be conditioned to the priority of the projects. The report weakens environmental protection mechanisms and speeds up deadlines for the government to decide on the companies’ demands. It creates the strange figure of “tacit approval” if the ANM does not decide on licenses within 180 days.
The proposal in the Chamber is an unjustified approval of a sector that has shown itself to be an enemy of the environment and a machine for grinding people in Brazil. Our problem is not a lack of good laws. With regard to public authorities, Mariana and Brumadinho showed the need to strengthen supervisory bodies and create stricter rules for social control and transparency.
The change in the Mining Code is added to other pro-mining projects, such as the one that frees up activity on indigenous lands. A 2019 survey by the Instituto Socioambiental in the ANM records showed that there were more than 500 requests for underground research in Yanomami land. It is not surprising that the genocide of this people is ongoing, in plain sight.
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