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Mining grows in Brazil and more than 91% of its area is in the Amazon


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The mining area in Brazil continues to grow and, since 2019, is larger than that of industrial mining. More than 91% of the Brazilian mining area is in the Amazon, according to MapBiomas data released this Monday (26).

The survey shows that, from 2010 to 2021, the mining area increased from 99 thousand hectares to 196 thousand hectares. By comparison, industrial mining took 20 years to increase from 86,000 hectares to 170,000.

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Pará, especially, and Mato Grosso are the states that concentrate the mining activity, with almost 92% of the total area.

Industrial mining is concentrated mainly in Minas Gerais, responsible for 36% of the sector’s area. Then appears Pará, with 24%.

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There are differences between what MapBiomas classifies as garimpo and industrial mining. In mining, in general, the extraction of gold —predominant— and tin is concentrated. Industrial mining has more diversity, with exploration of iron, aluminum and other products.

The two types considered by the survey are also distinguished by the scale of the operation: while mining is based on simpler techniques, such as excavator shovels and suction pumps, industrial mining is characterized by actions on a larger scale, according to Cesar Diniz, coordinator- MapBiomas mining mapping technician.

One of the problems highlighted by the data is the expansion of mining in protected areas. According to the survey, from 2010 to 2021, there was a 625% growth in the area mined in indigenous territories, an exploitation that is illegal.

“At least 12% of the national mining is necessarily illegal. This is the amount of mining that exists within areas restricted to mining activity, which are indigenous lands and integral protection conservation units. In these regions, mining cannot exist”, he says. Diniz. “Outside of that 12%, it is expected that there will be a much larger contingent of illegality.”

The concentration of mining in the Amazon ends up being important because of the environmental impacts involved in economic activity. President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) defends the release of mineral exploration within protected lands, such as indigenous areas. In addition, there is a project in Congress that follows the same line.

The MapBiomas survey on mining includes data from CPRM (Brazilian Geological Service), Ahk Brasilien (Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Inpe (National Institute for Space Research), Isa (Socio-environmental Institute) and the use of a deep learning.

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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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