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Environmentalists call for halt to gold rush along Amazon branch | Brazil

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Environmentalists are calling for urgent action to stop a gold water flow along one of the largest tributaries of the Amazon River, where hundreds of illegal gold mining dragons have gathered in search of the precious metal.

Large flotilla so big a local website compared it to a floating neighborhood it reportedly began to form in the Madeira River earlier this month following rumors that a large gold deposit had been found nearby.

They are making a gram of gold per hour down there, a researcher pretends in an audio recording provided by the newspaper Estado de So Paulo.

Danicley Aguiar, an Amazon-based Greenpeace activist who flew over the mining flotilla on Tuesday, said he was surprised by the scale of the illegal operation that unfolded just 75 miles east of the city of Manaus.

We’ve seen this kind of thing before in other places, but not to this degree, Aguiar said of the hundreds of dinghies he saw climbing the Madeiras riverbed near the towns of Autazes and Nova Olinda do Norte.

It is like a building with mining drapes that occupy almost the entire river.

Aguiar added: I have worked at Amazon for 25 years. I was born here and have seen many terrible things: so much destruction, so much deforestation, so many illegal mining. But when you see such a scene, it makes you feel like Amazon has entered this free spiral for everyone. There are no rules. It’s like living in Mad Max.

There was outrage as images of the river’s gold flow spread on social media.

Just look at the courage of these criminals. Extent of impunity, posted on Twitter Snia Bridi, a well-known Brazilian journalist known for her Amazon coverage.

Andr Borges, another journalist whose history helped expose the mining flotilla, posted on Twitter: We are witnessing, in 2021, an uprising of gold miners with all the aggressiveness of the days of discovery.

Multimillion-dollar illegal mining industry in Brazil has intensified since the 2018 election of Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist who supports the feral cat miners who hunt the Amazon rivers and rainforests for gold.

Up to 20,000 miners believed to operate within the supposedly protected indigenous Yanomami reserve in Roraima, one of the nine states that make up the Brazilian Amazon.

Deforestation has also increased under Bolsonaro, who has stripped environmental protection and has been accused of encouraging environmental criminals. The destruction of the Amazon increased to its highest levels in the 15 years between 2020 and 2021 when it lost an area more than half the size of Wales.

Last week the Bolsonaro administration was accused of deliberately concealing new government data exposing the scale of the deforestation crisis to avoid international humiliation during the Cop climate summit, where the Brazilian president refused to attend.

Aguiar, a Greenpeace spokesman for Amazon, said pro-Bolsonaro rhetoric was partly to blame for the rush of gold being played on the Madeira River. He also pointed the finger at regional politicians on the Amazon, who also backed plans to allow miners to exploit gold deposits in river beds.

In a recent interview, the former head of the Brazilian environmental agency Ibama, Suely Arajo, said she saw only one way to save her country’s environment: electing another president.

It is hard to believe that this government will take care of the environment because they are destroying everything, said Arajo, a public policy specialist for the environmental group Observatrio do Clima.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/24/amazon-gold-rush-madeira-river-environmentalists

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