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Gold mining and mining launch more than 70 candidates in the country with Bolsonaro’s impulse


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The expansion of illegal mining during the term of Jair Bolsonaro will be reflected in the 2022 elections.

Survey of Sheet shows that, in this year’s election, at least 79 candidates are linked, directly or indirectly, to the garimpeiro activity and gold mining. The party with the most names is the PL, the same as the current president of the Republic, with 17, followed by União Brasil, with eight.

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The list includes candidates for all positions, with the exception of the 2nd alternate to the Senate. The most prominent names compete for regions such as Pará and Roraima, where illegal extraction is stronger, and are associated with the image of Bolsonaro, who was also counted in the survey.

THE Sheet the president said that he was panning for gold in the 1980s and, in a video, said that “whenever possible” he goes “to any corner to spark a spark”—a reference to the search for ores.

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In the presidency, he presented a bill to allow mining in indigenous lands, used the Ukrainian War as a pretext to speed up its processing and the Attorney General’s Office to defend the activity. He also fulfilled his promise not to demarcate new indigenous lands, created a program to encourage “artisanal mining” and even visited an illegal mining region in Roraima.

In the lifting of Sheetthe report crossed the database of mining processes at the National Mining Agency with that of candidates from the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) and their respective companies, in addition to identifying politicians who publicly defend or work in favor of mining.

Of the total, 36 candidates own a mining process related to gold, diamond or cassiterite, the minerals most associated with illegal mining.

One of them is Rodrigo Cataratas (PL-RR). Candidate for federal deputy, he is the leader of the Garimpo É Legal movement and, according to the Federal Police, is part of a group suspected of moving R$16 billion in gold illegally extracted from the Yanomami indigenous land, among other activities.

“The class [dos garimpeiros] felt that it has no representatives, that it is practically an orphan of parliamentarians who defend its interests”, he told the report.

According to his estimates, 70% of the gold mined today in the entire Amazon comes from illegally — there are no official data for this index, and the figure cited by Cataratas shows the scale of the issue.

“The president [Bolsonaro] is a defender of this activity, he precisely wants the activity to be regularized throughout Brazil, and we are also looking for that”, says the candidate.

With more than R$100 million in declared assets, Roberto Soares da Silva will run for state deputy as Beto Ourominas, the name of his family’s company appointed by the Federal Public Ministry as responsible for buying more than a ton of illegal gold from the Yanomami indigenous land.

Although he is the founder of the company, Roberto is no longer a partner at Ourominas. He is running for the PSC in Amapá, a state where he is trying to get approval to build his own mine. Juarez Soares, his brother, is answerable in court along with the firm for crimes against the environment, money laundering and smuggling.

“I’m passionate about Amapá and gold,” he says. “The relationship I have with Ourominas is family and a very strong nature that defends the activity. It is possible to restore the environmental damage caused by mining until today, but prejudice prevents the work of the garimpeiros, who are encouraged to go underground.”

Luísa Molina, a consultant for ISA (Instituto Socioambiental), says that the garimpeiros movement is, in fact, led by businessmen who finance the activity and who, due to it, gain political capital —Cataratas, for example, owns aviation and artesian wells, in addition to mining.

“Garimpo businessmen today have a political force that they have never had since 1988. It is inseparable from the rise of the right, from the Bolsonarista project for the Amazon, from government measures and from the rigging of environmental agencies and the dismantling of inspections.” environment”, he says.

Raoni Rajão, a researcher at the UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais), follows suit. For him, although it is not the first time that names linked to mining have organized themselves politically, which is legitimate, the novelty is the emergence of candidacies that “openly challenge the State, questioning the police and Ibama”. “The apology of illegal mining and the defense of impunity has become a political platform.”

Molina, from ISA, adds that, as strong as the organization for the congressional elections, is the articulation in the state elections, since there are projects for the liberation of mining in indigenous lands or to make the inspection of the activity in Legislative Assemblies of states more flexible. From north.

Known as “councilman for garimpeiros” — a motto that elected him in 2020 —, Wescley Tomaz, from Itaituba (PA), is now running for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies for the PSC. He is one of the main lobbyists for mining in Brasília and, in recent years, has had meetings with Bolsonaro and his ministers.

In his campaign material, he displays both the image of the president and that of the senator and candidate for the Government of Pará, Zequinha Marinho (PL), an avowed supporter of the legalization of illegal mining and loggers. According to a report by Agência Pública, Zequinha has already sent, through his office, letters to Ibama questioning the removal of invaders from the Ituna-Itatá indigenous land.

The list of pro-garimpo candidates also includes politicians seeking reelection, such as deputies Joaquim Passarinho (PL-PA), José Medeiros (PL-MT) and Silas Câmara (Republicans-AM).

There are also names trying to return to Congress, such as Flexa Ribeiro (PP-PA), a senator between 2011 and 2018 and linked to Dirceu Frederico Sobrinho, an alternate on his 2018 ticket — when they were not elected.

Sobrinho is president of the National Gold Association, owner of FD Gold —a company accused by the Federal Public Ministry of selling illegal gold—, close to Vice President Hamilton Mourão and owner of the 77 kg of illegal gold seized by the Federal Police in the interior of São Paulo, in may. He was arrested on Sunday (18) in São Paulo by order of the Federal Court of Rondônia.

One of Flexa’s opponents in this dispute is Mario Couto (PL), whose candidate for first substitute is one of the most experienced mining lobbyists in the country: Zé Altino, 80. He, who in recent years has maintained a constant routine of meetings with Mourão in Brasília , is considered one of the pioneers of the invasion of the Yanomami indigenous land, in Roraima, and directs the Association of Miners of Alto Tapajós.

There are defenders of garimpo in left and center-left acronyms, such as PT, PSB and PDT. Sidney de Paula (PSB-MT), candidate for state deputy, helped organize an event in 2021 about the activity in Peixoto de Azevedo (MT). As a councilor, he authored the law that created the garimpeiro’s day.

Odacy Amorim (PT-PE), another candidate for state deputy, is the holder of three applications at the National Mining Agency to explore gold ore in Pernambuco and Bahia. He is also a partner at Everest Mineração, a company in the field that had its activities suspended in 2018 due to problems with an environmental license. All those cited were contacted by the report, but did not respond.

There are also supporters of mining who are looking for a place in politics for the first time, such as Cabo Cairo (Pros-RO), a policeman who, wearing a green and yellow shirt, recorded a video carrying a rifle and asking for the release of gun ownership for garimpeiros. .

“As it is today, mining benefits a small group of businessmen and politicians, half a dozen bourgeois”, he says, who defends that all mining has, by law, satellite inspection and the participation of a biologist, a chemist and an environmental engineer.

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I have over 8 years of experience working in the news industry. I have worked as a reporter, editor, and now managing editor at 247 News Agency. I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the news website and overseeing all of the content that is published. I also write a column for the website, covering mostly market news.

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