BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s government will revise a decree that opened up a vast mineral reserve in the Amazon rainforest to mining, ministers told journalists on Monday, responding to overwhelming criticism from lawmakers and activists.
Mining and Energy Minister Fernando Coelho Filho said the government would rescind its prior decree and issue a new one that still abolishes the mineral reserve but specifies existing protections for parts of the area that will remain in place.
The changes, as described, will be largely superficial, spelling out protections that would have remained in place anyway, and Coelho Filho largely repeated remarks he made on from Friday defending the move to allow mining.
The revision shows the government scrambling to respond to criticism, including threats of legal action and an effort to overturn the decree in Congress, with a stream of news conferences and statements since Renca was abolished last week.
The National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca) banned mining in roughly 17,800 square miles (46,000 square km) of Amazon rainforest, an area larger than Denmark.
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