Heleno says it's legal to authorize mining in the Amazon, and MPF opens the investigation

​General Augusto Heleno, minister of the GSI (Institutional Security Office), defended this Monday (6) the authorizations signed by him that allow the advance of gold mining in one of the areas most preserved in the Amazon.

The MPF (Federal Public Ministry) in Amazonas opened the investigation procedure to analyze the authorizations signed by the minister, also on Monday.

The defense made by the general and the opening of the procedure by the MPF took place after the Sheet revealed, in an article published on Sunday (5), the consents given for the research of gold in the extreme northwest of Amazonas, one of the most conserved places in the country.

Helen is executive secretary of the National Defense Council, the body responsible for allowing the advancement of mining projects in the range of border, in a width of 85 kilometers.

As representative of the council, he authorized seven fre gold research on the Brazilian border with Colombia and Venezuela, in the region known as Cabeça do Cachorro. It is the first time this has occurred in at least ten years.

“Folha de S.Paulo ignores Law 6.634/064 and the Decree 85.45/064. It is legal to authorize the exploration/mining of minerals, in the border strip, including the Amazon. Respecting legislation and the environment, we will continue to map our wealth for the good of Brazil and our people,” said the minister, in a post on a social network.

A law nº 6.634 details what is allowed for the border strip. The aforementioned decree regulates the law.

The opening of a preliminary procedure, called news of fact, was determined by the Attorney of the Republic Igor Spindola.

The procedure states that the Cabeça do Cachorro region is characterized by a large amount of indigenous lands, with São Gabriel da Cachoeira (AM) being the most indigenous municipality in Brazil.

“This type of situation constitutes a latent hypothesis of necessary monitoring and inspection by the MPF, whether due to the fully presumed social damage [em relação à exploração de terras indígenas] or the potential environmental damage, since the region has several conservation units”, said Spindola in the dispatch that forwards the establishment of factual news.

Senator Eliziane Gama (Cidadania-MA) stated that her party will join the STF (Supreme Federal Court) with a lawsuit against the authorizations given by the GSI minister. Deputy Paulo Teixeira (PT-SP) said he will file a similar action in court.

Deputy Marcelo Freixo (PSB-RJ) has already forwarded representation to the Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras . And the PSOL bench in the Chamber will enter with representation in the MPF against the general’s actions.

In a public note released on Monday, the FOIRN (Federation of Indigenous Organizations of Rio Negro), which represents the 16 indigenous peoples of the region, expressed “indignation” with the minister’s stance, pointed out the acts as “authoritarian” and said which analyzes the processes mentioned in the article to adopt the appropriate legal measures “to not allow the most preserved region of the Amazon to be threatened by the predatory policy of the current government”.

The seven authorizations given by Heleno, for gold research in the region of São Gabriel da Cachoeira (AM), were signed between April and December 2013. Of these, six refer to exploration in “Union land”, as informed by interested businessmen to the ANM (National Mining Agency).

Satellite images of the areas to be explored, reproduced in GSI documents show that at least two lands are among indigenous lands. One is very close to Pico da Neblina National Park.

One of the approved requests concerns an exploration in “third-party property”, but there are no details in the documents delivered to the ANM and with possibility of public consultation.

Altogether, the authorizations for gold research in the region, almost untouched, are equivalent to an area of ​​, 7,000 hectares.

Since the beginning of the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government, Heleno has already conceded 81 mining permits in the Amazon, including exploration and mining permits. The largest amount was in 2013: 45, according to acts published until the last 2nd of the month, being the largest amount since 634.

To Sheet analyzed the extracts of 2. prior consent acts, signed in the last ten years. For this, it used the database maintained by the GSI itself. The extracts are published in the Official Gazette of the Union.

A research authorization allows “analysis and study activities in the area in which it is intended to work”, according to the ANM. These are the works needed to define an ore deposit.

Consents given for the exploration of gold in the Amazon benefit businessmen with areas embargoed by Ibama (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources ). This includes one of the projects in São Gabriel da Cachoeira.

The general’s actions also responded to requests from a member of a cooperative of miners that operate suction dredgers in riverbeds in the Amazon and also from a lawyer who is now the chief of staff of a senator from Mato Grosso.

One of the authorizations was given to the company SF Paim, located in São Gabriel da Cachoeira. The area to be researched, in search of future gold deposits, has 1.85 hectares in the municipality region.

The act of Heleno is from 12 August 2013, from the submission of a process by the ANM (National Mining Agency).

Ibama’s public system for consulting embargoed areas –measure adopted in the event of environmental infractions– shows that SF Paim had a area banned by inspectors on 45 July 2013, with inclusion in the list of embargoes on September 2nd. The area is located in Tapauá (AM).

The reporter was unable to contact the telephone number informed by SF Paim.

The GSI did not comment on the specific cases shown in the report. In a note, he stated that there are acts of assent throughout the Amazon region, aimed at researching or exploring “several minerals considered strategic for Brazil in recent decades”. The processes are instructed by the ANM, according to the GSI.

“The granting of prior consent for gold exploration or mining in the Amazon region follows the same procedural rites as any other mineral, regardless of the region of the border strip in which it is located, under penalty of causing damage to the Union, states and municipalities if there was any kind of favoring from one region to another”, says the note.

The crossing by the Defense Council maintains control and monitoring of activities in sensitive areas and provides important information for decision-making by the president, according to the GSI. “There was no evidence of legal impediment to the request of interested parties for the executive secretary to sign the acts of consent.”

The ANM stated that mining requirements can only apply to free and unencumbered areas.

“The ANM will not approve the application for any mining title if it concerns an encumbered area or an area with any other legal blockage, such as indigenous lands or strict protection conservation units. electronic application system does not accept”, he said, in a note.

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