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Brazil miners increasingly concerned about illegal mining

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Brazil miners increasingly concerned about illegal mining

Major miners with operations in Brazil are facing reputational risks as illegal mining is growing. 

Data by NGO MapBiomas showed that regulated industrial mining covered 170,000ha in 2021, while artisanal mining covered 196,000ha, compared to 99,000ha in 2010.

Artisanal mining generally is legal, but the sector also concentrates illegal activity, or garimpo, as authorities lack oversight capacity, especially in remote regions.

“The historical series shows an uninterrupted growth of artisanal mining, at a faster pace than industrial mining in the last decade, in addition to an unequivocal trend of concentration in the Amazon, where 91.6% of the illegally mined area in Brazil was located in 2021,” MapBiomas technical coordinator Cesar Diniz said in a statement. 

Mining association Ibram is working with the government and NGOs to combat illegal mining, which causes damage to legitimate players as well, and because international investors are emphasizing compliance with ESG aspects.

Stakeholders have been developing mechanisms to track national gold production to increase transparency.

“Criminal activities related to illegal mining are a case of the police, of jail. These are crimes that destroy communities, lands and indigenous peoples and the environment. Mining with compliance, which responds to command-and-control bodies, has no complacency with these crimes,” Ibram head Raul Jungmann said during a panel at the Exposibram mining event.

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