Brazil has retracted its previously announced decree to allow commercial mining in a portion of the Amazon reserve in the wake of growing protests from environmental groups.
In August this year, the Brazilian Government banned the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca), opening it up for mining operations in order to bolster the country’s economy and have control over the area where mining is prevalent.
Renca, located in the northern states of Amapa and Para, was established in 1984 and covers an area of around 17,800 square miles, slightly larger than Denmark.
The Mines and Energy Ministry noted that the issue would be revisited in future through a wider consultation process.
In a statement, the ministry said: “The country needs to grow and generate jobs, attract investments to the mineral sector, and to exploit the economic potential of the region.”
The Renca reserve is part of the Amazon rainforest, which is considered an environmental sink that absorbs harmful emissions in the region.
Since the government proposed to remove restrictions on mining in the reserve, environmentalists have been condemning it.
Greenpeace public policy coordinator Marcio Astrini was quoted by Reuters as saying: “If carried out, the cancellation of the decree shows that, no matter how bad, there is no leader absolutely immune to public pressures.
“It is a victory of society over those who want to destroy and sell our forest.”