The fight against illegal mining that affected the Yanomami people needs to join forces with the Central Bank, Revenue, CVM (Securities and Exchange Commission) and Itamaraty, in the opinion of former Minister of Defense Raul Jungmann.
Today president of Ibram, which brings together large mining companies, such as AngloGoldAshanti and Kinross, Jungmann says that the sector has been warning about illegality and has positioned itself against mining in indigenous lands during the Bolsonaro administration.
In addition to police repression, it defends the fight against the illegal market and exports. “The issue of illegal gold involves repression, command and control. But taking them out of the market is just as important.”
How are the big mining companies accompanying the Yanomami crisis? We are following through on the side of concern with illegal gold mining and gold. What is happening to the Yanomami is a horrible tragedy.
Since 2022, we have been fighting illegal mining. We started to do this based on a report by Instituto Escolhas, which produced a work on the chain of exploration, production and commercialization of illegal gold. This gold, which comes from illegal mining, destroys nature, uses mercury, is terrible for fish and riverside populations.
They corrupt and kill native populations in the surroundings and associate with criminal factions. I was Minister of Public Security and I had information that the PCC was infiltrating this activity.
Is there concern about the image of Brazil and the sector?There is a perception that illegal prospecting is part of mining. But legal mining pays taxes, generates income and jobs. We have a stance. When the government wanted to urgently approve bill 191 for mining in indigenous lands [na gestão Bolsonaro, em 2022]people were surprised because we were against it.
There, openings were opened for what was called artisanal mining, but in fact it was a kind of legitimation for illegal mining. Sustainable mining has no place in the future if it does not have what we call a socio-environmental license, which implies accountability.
The report I mentioned shows that the laundering of illegal gold is carried out, to a great extent, by DTVMs, distributors of bonds and securities. And he shows how five of the DTVMs are responsible for nearly 90% of illegal gold. Brazil produces just over 100 tons of gold, and 50 tons are illegal. That amounts to US$ 2.5 billion, to give us an idea of the size of this illegal market and its interests.
Why does gold in Brazil draw attention?Because it is a commodity but also a financial asset, it has this dual identity. And, as it is a financial asset, the Central Bank regulates it. So, our conversation last year was with BC president Roberto Campos Neto. We, Escolhas, ISA (Instituto Socioambiental) and Ethos went to present the problem. We had an excellent conversation.
There is a limit that is the principle of good faith: the subject takes a wrapping paper, turns it into an invoice and hands over the gold. From there comes the washing. If you do an investigation, they’ll arrive with a pile of invoices, most of them cold, and you, as a matter of good faith, have to accept them.
Flavio Dino [ministro da Justiça] already filed a request with the Supreme to suspend this problem. It is necessary to implement the electronic invoice, which makes it possible to track and cross-reference data. It is central to this strategy. And who does that is the Recipe. We asked for an audience with the Secretary of Revenue, still in the Bolsonaro government. And we went there, Escolhas, a representative of the Central Bank, one of the CVM, and one of the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
We are now returning to a new meeting with the new Revenue Secretary. He called the team and, again, we presented the study. He said that it would be a priority to accelerate the implementation of the electronic invoice and said that he would take this matter to the Minister of Finance, Haddad.
We also filed a request for an investigation with the CVM. The Yanomami case has everything to do with this. People say that the issue of illegal gold involves repression, command and control. This needs to be done. But taking their market away is just as important. If you take away their market, they lose their attractiveness. This is a working axis.
Are there other axes?The second axis is traceability. This is a topic I intend to discuss with Flávio Dino. We have a partnership with the Federal Police, which is a technology based on radioisotopes. All gold that is extracted has a fingerprint, that is, it comes with residues, which allow us to know where it came from, if it came from an indigenous land, from a legal land, if it was from a reserve. This is in development.
In the third axis, we bring together the main jewelry stores in Brazil with legal mining companies, which are audited and controlled. We proposed to bring together the sectors with a legal gold certificate.
The fourth axis is the exterior. Switzerland is a major importer of gold from Brazil. Go legal and illegal gold. We spoke with the Swiss government, business and NGOs so that they could create a requirement for legal gold. That is, there is an internal accountability, but also an external one. You have to be responsible for those who buy on the other side. If that doesn’t exist, it doesn’t close the circuit. We also spoke with Chancellor Mauro Vieira asking for support from Itamaraty.
In the Fernando Henrique Cardoso government, he was Minister of Agrarian Development, extraordinary Minister of Land Policy, chaired Ibama and Incra. In the management of Michel Temer, in 2016, he became Minister of Defense and, from 2018, Minister of Public Security. He was also councilor of Recife and federal deputy, among other positions.
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