Heleno authorized diamond exploration in agrarian reform land on the border

General Augusto Heleno, minister of the GSI (Institutional Security Office), authorized a businessman to mine diamonds in an area of ​​9.817,63 hectares in Roraima, on the border with Guyana.

The authorization includes an expressive portion of an agrarian reform settlement of 3.178 hectares, destined to 70 families.

Helen is executive secretary of the National Defense Council, a collegiate that advises President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) on matters of defense and sovereignty. The secretary is given the power to say yes or no to mining projects in the border strip, up to 150 kilometers wide.

The Folha revealed that the GSI minister has given the approval to the advance of gold mining in one of the most preserved regions of the Amazon, in the extreme northwest of Amazonas.

The place, where the municipality of São Gabriel da Cachoeira is located, the most indigenous in Brazil, is known as Cabeça do Cachorro. It was the first time, in at least ten years, that this type of authorization had been granted.

The general authorized gold exploration in a stretch of the Rio Negro — both on islands and in the waters— which divides two virtually untouched indigenous lands, where indigenous peoples of 23 live.

Another area extends into the territory of the Union, attached to the Pico da Neblina National Park. For this area, the minister also authorized prospecting for niobium and tantalum.

Heleno’s willingness to allow the advance of prospecting in the Amazon includes a guarantee for the exploration of the settlement project area. of Incra (National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform).

On July 1st 2021, the minister authorized businessman Antônio João Abdalla Son researching diamonds in the border strip in Roraima, in an area of ​​the municipalities of Bonfim and Cantá.

The so-called prior consent, referring to an area of ​​9.999,63 hectares, was based on the ANM (National Mining Agency) process.

Abdalla Filho works on different fronts. He is a partner in mining, cement, real estate, helicopter and livestock companies, among others.

The GSI documents referring to Heleno’s decision validating the diamond research show that the The request for mining the ore included a portion of the Jacamim settlement.

The settlement has an area overlapping with the Malacacheta indigenous land, according to the same documents. More than a thousand Wapishana indigenous people live on the land. The Wapishana are also in the Jacamim indigenous land, in the same region.

In the settlement of the same name, Jacamim, they live 63 families, with capacity for 70, according to Incra’s database. The project was created in 2002.

The diamond research area includes a slice of the settlement and is adjacent to the land indigenous Malacacheta. “Incra was in favor of mineral research”, says the GSI in a document that marked Heleno’s endorsement of the project.

The analysis report by Incra cited in the GSI document is from 23 October 2013.

“The DF ratified that there is an overlap between the area claimed for research and the settlement project. DD [Divisão de Desenvolvimento] was in favor of the research since it is only research and not mining”, quotes the report.

In February and May [Divisão de Desenvolvimento] , the GSI consulted Incra about the overlapping of the area claimed for diamond research with the area of ​​the Jacamim settlement. “.

The GSI concluded that prior consent for diamond research is appropriate, provided that there is prior authorization from Incra for entry into the rural settlement area. This may include “conditions and considerations for the use and mineral exploration”, according to Heleno’s folder.

In a note, Incra stated to Folha that “there is no legal impediment to authorization of mining research and exploration in an agrarian reform settlement”.

“Only in the stage of the environmental licensing process will fit to the institute to manifest on possible compensation measures related to mining activity”, says the agency.

Incra also stated that it was not consulted on diamond research in the entire area of ​​9.999,63 acre.

The ANM also said, in a note, that there is no legal impediment to the exploration of minerals in rural settlements. Neither Incra nor the ANM answered whether the settled families were consulted about diamond exploration and whether they have any participation in the project.

Without seeing legal impediment, the minister authorized the research in the entire required area. The expenditure forecast by the entrepreneur, at this stage, is R$ 3.79 million.

Abdalla Filho had already obtained other prior consents from the GSI, in 2002, to research gold and diamonds in 12.178,23 hectares in Roraima, more specifically in the municipalities Amajari and Caracaraí.

From the information available, it is not clear whether these projects were in rural settlements or in the vicinity of indigenous lands.

The report sent questions to the email of a secretary of the businessman, appointed in one of his companies, but there was no response.

The GSI did not respond to the questions raised about the authorization given to Abdalla Filho.

Heleno has been defending the authorizations given to mining projects in the Amazon. The minister said that the acts of prior consent have a legal basis and that the Bolsonaro government will continue to “map our wealth for the good of Brazil and our people”.

Since the beginning of Bolsonaro government, the minister has already granted 79 authorizations for the exploration of ore in the Amazon. Only in 2002, until the 2nd of this month, were 41 authorizations, the largest amount in nine years.

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