Brazil to establish mining policy council

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, January 26, 2023
Brazil to establish mining policy council

Brazil's government announced that it will establish a mining policy council, to be called the CNPM, as part of its efforts to drive sustainable practices in the sector.

The CNPM is also intended to improve the coordination and implementation of public policies aimed at advancing the mining sector, ensuring the improvement of legal security and the sustainable development of the industry.

"This is important because it sets up a council that includes all stakeholders that are related in some way to mining projects, from companies and authorities to society," Eduardo Leão, a former director of national mining regulator ANM, told BNamericas.

"This is a tool that, in the short term, will of course create a lot of debate among all the parties involved in projects, but it's a good tool to align interests," he added.

"Before the CNPM, the communities around the projects were the last to know that a mining project was going to be constructed and this created an atmosphere of animosity between the parties from the beginning. This will help improve the relationship between companies and communities," continued Leão, who is currently the sustainability manager at Canadian firm G Mining Ventures.

In a ministry release, mines and energy minister Alexandre Silveira pointed to the government's commitment to establishing the CNPM, ensuring the participation of all stakeholders, including municipalities that either produce minerals or are affected by the industry, as well as organized civil society and academic institutions with in-depth knowledge of the sector.

“Following the guidelines established by President Lula [Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva], I started my work at the head of the mines and energy ministry, guiding my actions from the perspective of socio-environmental justice, aimed at reducing inequalities, reducing the impacts on communities and including the people affected in the positive results of the projects," said Silveira. 

"Our natural resources will serve our people, not the other way around. They need to be exploited in a timely, responsible, sustainable and rational manner so that they generate the best possible results for our people and future generations,” he added. 

The minister made his comments during an event in memory of the 272 victims of the tailings dam collapse at the Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, operated by mining firm Vale, which took place four years ago. 

Tailings dams have become a sensitive subject in Brazil since the dams at Brumadinho and Mariana collapsed in 2019 and 2015, respectively, causing hundreds of deaths and severe environmental damage.

“We are going to invest resources and efforts in the strict inspection of dam safety, aimed at preventing tragic and regrettable events like these from happening again," said Silveira.

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