A Canadian company wants to build Brazil’s largest open-pit gold mine: Now that Bolsonaro is in power, it just might succeed – by Jacob Lorinc (Toronto Star – November 9, 2019)


On the morning of the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, in February 2017, a group of samba dancers stood solemnly in front of a massive parade float depicting five venomous snakes, their forked tongues protruding from the back of a bearded man with bloodshot eyes.

The gruesome display was a publicity stunt — a symbol of agribusiness invading the eastern edge of the Amazon rainforest, said the dancers in a press conference that morning. To the delegation of Indigenous leaders in attendance, the monster allegorized several industrial projects recently encroaching on their territories.

For some, it represented the Belo Monte, a massive government-owned hydroelectric dam that flooded the shores of the lower Xingu River, a tributary to the Amazon River. For one delegate, the leader of the Juruna tribe, the monster represented a more recent perceived threat to the communities living near those shorelines — a Canadian mining company by the name of Belo Sun.

“We can’t accept Belo Sun in our region, not in Brazil,” tribe leader Bel Juruna told the thousands of carnival-goers in attendance that day. “We demand that this company leave us alone on our lands, that the government respects us and respects our nature.”

For years, the Toronto-based firm has sought licence to build Brazil’s largest open-pit gold mine, called the Volta Grande, on the southern shore of a 500-km curve in the Xingu. But the Juruna and critics alike have said that the mine would spell disaster for the surrounding ecosystem and Indigenous communities if it’s approved by the Brazilian government.

For the rest of this article: https://www.thestar.com/business/2019/11/09/a-canadian-company-wants-to-build-brazils-largest-open-pit-gold-mine-now-that-bolsonaro-is-in-power-it-just-might-succeed.html

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