(Bloomberg) — Brazil is pushing ahead with plans to allow mining in the indigenous reserves of the Amazon rain forest and will send a bill to Congress later this month to regulate the activity, according to the country’s minister for mines and energy.
The Brazilian constitution permits the extraction of raw materials from the reserves but a lack of regulation has resulted in widespread wildcat mining across the region, Bento Albuquerque, a Navy admiral, told Bloomberg News in an interview in Brasilia.
“A majority of the 600 indigenous communities want this,” he said, adding that they would be compensated for the economic exploitation of their lands. “Nothing is more damaging to the environment than illegal activity.”
The minister met 12 European ambassadors on Thursday to discuss the proposal, which is likely to meet strong resistance from environmental groups.
The Brazilian government has clashed repeatedly with European leaders concerned about President Jair Bolsonaro‘s policies toward the Amazon, with some European Union lawmakers threatening to block a trade deal with Mercosur, the South American customs union, over the issue.
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