Bolsonaro authorizes mining exploitation in the Amazon of Brazil

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, assured that his country “runs the risk” of running out of potassium due to the war launched by Russia in Ukraine and assured that allowing mining exploitation in indigenous reserves in the Amazon will solve this problem.

Russia is one of the world’s largest fertilizer producers and exporters and the main supplier of potassium chloride to Brazil. Data from the Logcomex platform indicate that in 2021 Russia was the main supplier of potassium chloride in Brazil in terms of value, with an amount of 1,400 million dollars (34% of the total) and the second in weight sold, with 3,840 tons sold. (29% of the total).

“With the Russia-Ukraine war, we run the risk of a potassium shortage or its price rising. Our food security and agribusiness require from us, Executive and Legislative, measures that allow us not to depend externally on something that we have in abundance,” Bolsonaro wrote on his social networks. According to the president, environmental legislation, indigenous peoples and exploitation rights in the Madeira river basin, the main tributary of the Amazon river, are “three problems” that prevent the South American power from obtaining its own potassium.

“Our Bill 191 of 2020, ‘allows the exploitation of mineral, water and organic resources on indigenous lands’. Once approved, one of these issues is resolved. This bill, presented in 2020, aims to regulate mining in indigenous reserves without Congress previously discussing whether it is constitutional, which led the Federal Public Ministry to consider it unconstitutional last year. The Minister of Agriculture of Brazil, Tereza Cristina, acknowledged last week that the conflict in Ukraine “concerns” the government about its possible impact on the supply of agricultural inputs, but pondered that Brazil “is an importer of fertilizers from several countries” and not only from Russia.

“We have other alternatives to substitute” imports, he assured. “I just came back from Iran, where there was a huge supply of fertilizers for Brazil. We have to make some adjustments. There are other countries, like Canada, Morocco,” she added.

The economic exploitation of the Amazon and the end of the demarcation of new indigenous reserves was one of the banners promoted by the far-right leader to come to power. More than 20% of the fertilizers it imports come from Russia, which is Brazil’s main supplier. The Bolsonaro government has relaxed control and inspection measures for illegal mining in the largest tropical forest on the planet.

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