RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has issued two decrees to drive gold prospecting with a focus on the Amazon rainforest, according to the texts published Monday in the official gazette.
The Program to Support Development of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining created by one decree aims to strengthen policies and stimulate best practices, according to the text. The Amazon “will be the priority region for the development of works,” it says.
The other alters existing laws and regulations, for example requiring the nation’s mining regulator to establish simplified criteria for the analysis of permit requests for prospecting.
The measures spurred outrage from environmental and Indigenous rights groups, which warned they would exacerbate the illegal destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest and pollution of its waterways with mercury, used to separate gold.
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