According to a study released Friday by MapBiomas, a website that gathers data and information on Brazilian biomes, from the soil to the Amazon, including mining, fire, and water, illegal mining in Brazil grew by 35,000 hectares in 2022 compared to the previous year, Agencia Brasil reported.
The survey showed that this growth occurred mainly in the Amazon, which in 2022 concentrated almost all (92%) of the area mined in Brazil. Almost half (40.7%) of the area mined in this biome was opened up in the last five years. The main interest of prospectors is gold, with 85.4% of the 263,000 hectares mined for this mineral.
The study also revealed the concentration of mining in protected areas and those restricted to the activity, such as the Jamanxin, Rio Novo, and Amazônia National Parks, in Pará; the Juami Jupurá Ecological Station, in Amazonas, and the Yanomami Indigenous Land (TI Yanomami), in Roraima. According to MapBiomas, the first three areas have been mined for more than 20 years, but satellite images show an increase in the last 10 years. The area mined in Esec Juami Jupurá is less than five years old and the Yanomami Indigenous Land has increased in the last 10 years.
The size of these mines stands out on the maps and is easily identifiable even by laypeople. It's surprising that they still exist year after year. Their existence and growth is evidence of economic and political support for the activity, without which they would not survive since they are in areas where mining is prohibited, said MapBiomas' mining mapping technical coordinator César Diniz.
According to MapBiomas, the growth of mining in protected areas in 2022 was 190% higher than five years ago, with an increase of 50,000 hectares. That year, more than 25,000 hectares in Indigenous Lands and 78,000 hectares in Conservation Units were occupied by the activity. In 2018, there were 9,500 and 44,700 hectares. In 2022, 39% of the area mined in Brazil was within Indigenous Lands or Conservation Units.
In Indigenous Lands, 15,700 hectares were occupied by prospectors in 2022, which represents an increase of 265%. The mapping shows that 62.3% of the area mined on Indigenous Lands was opened up in the last five years. The Indigenous Lands most invaded by mining are the Kayapó (13,700 hectares), Munduruku (5,500 hectares), Yanomami (3,300 hectares), Tenharim do Igarapé Preto (1,000 hectares) and Sai-Cinza (377 hectares).
In the Conservation Units, 43% of the logged area was opened up in the last five years. According to MapBiomas, the most invaded are the Tapajós APA (51,600 hectares), the Amaná Flona (7,900 hectares), Esec Juami Jupurá (2,600 hectares), Flona do Crepori (2,300 hectares) and Parna do Rio Novo (2,300 hectares).
”One of the consequences of mining is the silting up of rivers and the contamination of their waters. Satellite images show that the basins most affected by mining activity are the Tapajós, Teles Pires, Jamanxim, Xingu, and Amazonas. These five basins account for 66% of the area mined in the country, with the Tapajós accounting for 20% (54.8 thousand hectares) and the Teles Pires for 18% (48.1 thousand hectares),” the MapBiomas document stressed.
According to the mapping data, there was no growth in industrial mining, which in 2022 occupied the same 180,000 hectares recorded in 2021. Last year, this area corresponded to 40% of the total exploited by the activity in Brazil (443,000 hectares).
The states with the largest areas occupied by industrial activity, with 76% of the area (339,000 hectares), are Pará, Mato Grosso, and Minas Gerais. The municipality with the largest mined area in Brazil is Itaituba, in Pará, with 71,000 hectares, 16% of the country's mined area. Next are Jacareacanga (PA) and Peixoto de Azevedo (MT), with 20,000 and 13,000 hectares.
(Source: Agencia Brasil)