Brazil mining association stepping up fight against illegal mining

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Brazilian mining association Ibram will conduct a survey among gold producers about certification processes to evaluate measures to combat illegal mining, a step applauded by stakeholders.

"This Ibram initiative is very important since more than half of the gold production in Brazil has serious indications of irregularity, taking place in areas of environmental conservation," Sergio Leitão, founder of sustainability NGO Instituto Escolhas, told BNamericas. 

According to Ibram, certification is a global recognition of ethical gold production. “Customers of certified gold pay a kind of bonus for the social and environmental quality of the product,” Ibram said in a press release.

"The main objective of Ibram is to learn about the certifications most practiced in Brazilian operations, with the aim of aligning a partnership with federal government bodies in the future in favor of more responsible and sustainable mining in the country," it added. 

Companies interested in participating may submit information through January 16 here.

Illegal mining, especially in the gold segment, has been a hot topic for months.

According to a study by Instituto Escolhas, 52.8t of gold was produced from clandestine operations in 2021, the most recent figure available, up 25% compared with 2020.

Most illegal gold mining takes place in remote areas of the Amazon rainforest. It rocketed during the previous Jair Bolsonaro administration, which gutted oversight and enforcement bodies.

"With this high degree of irregularity, [regular mining] is also being punished because the entire reputation of the sector is affected. Understanding who is doing it correctly and who is not is essential for us to punish illegal mining," said Leitão.

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