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March 4, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 11:43am

Brazil calls for lifting Amazon mining ban in wake of Ukraine conflict

Extraction of minerals, including key fertilizer ingredient potash, in indigenous territories has been opposed in Amazon.

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has called for the lifting of mining restrictions in indigenous territories in the Amazon amid the Ukraine crisis, reported Global Times via Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The move is aimed at offsetting potential shortages for fertilisers amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Mineral extraction in indigenous territories has been opposed by local communities and environmentalists. Potash is said to be key ingredient in many fertilisers.

However, Bolsonaro said that mining in indigenous territories in the Amazon was necessary to reduce reliance on imported products.

Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter: “With the Russia/Ukraine war we now face the risk of a lack of potassium or that its price rises.”

Agriculture giant Brazil imports more than 80% of fertilisers to meet its demands. It imports close to 20% of fertilisers from Russia.

Bolsonaro added: “Our food security and agribusiness require Executive and Legislative measures so that we don’t depend externally on something we have in abundance.”

Bolsonaro plans to back a bill first proposed in 2020 that allows the government to issue permits for potential companies for the ‘extraction of minerals, water and organic resources from indigenous land’.

Furthermore, Brazil Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias told CNN said a national fertiliser plan is planned to be launched to stimulate investments in potash and phosphorus mines, reported Reuters.

Last month, the head of grains-growing and trading firm Amaggi, Blairo Maggi, was in negotiations with Canadian investor Stan Bharti to help develop the potash mine in order to reduce dependence on costly fertiliser imports.

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