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Brazil cracks down on illegal Amazon gold minersExBulletin

Brazil cracks down on illegal Amazon gold minersExBulletin


An illegal gold mine in Brazil.

Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

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Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

An illegal gold mine in Brazil.

Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

RIO DE JANEIRO Brazil’s new government has launched what is being billed as a mega operation to root out illegal miners from an indigenous reserve in the Amazon. Illegal miners have polluted rivers and lands in the reserve, leading to widespread starvation and disease.

The new government of President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva announced the massive operation in late January, hoping to remove up to 20,000 illegal gold miners now believed to be in the Yanomami reserve in northern Brazil. Brazilian Defense Minister Jos Mcio will travel to the region later in the week to oversee the progress of the operation.

The number of miners has increased dramatically in recent years after former president Jair Bolsonaro did little to curb illegal activity in the Amazon.

Citing mass malnutrition and malaria among the Yanomami people, President Lula has declared a medical emergency. High levels of mercury, used to process the ore, have polluted Yanomami rivers.

Hundreds of agents have been dispatched to cut off fuel and food supply routes and enforce a no-fly zone over the remote region.

This story originally appeared on NPR’s Newscast.




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