Lula’s government seeks to overturn mining law for encouraging the circulation of illegal gold in Brazil

The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – Marcelo Camargo/Agencia Brazil/d / DPA

The new Brazilian government considers «unconstitutional» the legislation that facilitates the circulation of gold in Brazil, since companies are currently not obliged to know its origin – thus encouraging illegal extraction – and are already analyzing the case in order to file a forthcoming lawsuit in the Supreme Court.

«Unfortunately, this law allows illegal gold to become legal gold, as if it were laundered, because the distributors who buy gold do not need to comply with certain guidelines, since the good faith of the buyer and the seller is presumed,» explained the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino.

«Therefore, we consider that this law is unconstitutional,» said Dino in an interview for Brazilian public radio. In it, the Minister of Justice informed that they have spoken with the General Attorney’s Office to study and examine whether there is the possibility of filing a claim of illegality before the Supreme Court.

«It would be a way of discouraging illegal mining in Brazil», said Dino, at a time when the issue of irregular extraction has returned to the limelight after the Government had warned of the havoc it has caused in large areas of the Amazon, especially in the Yanomami community.

In this sense, the general lawyer of the Union, Jorge Messias, has denounced that the indigenous peoples were «abandoned to their own fate» and that the government of Jair Bolsonaro incurred in «omission» of functions by not tackling the humanitarian and health crisis of the Yanomami, the largest indigenous people in Brazil.

«There was omission in the previous government. Whether it was deliberate or not, the investigations will tell,» said Messias when announcing a special commission to find out what happened in a meeting with the press, reports ‘O Globo’.

Last week, during a visit of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the south of the state of Roraima, in the Brazilian Amazon, the Ministry of Health declared a health emergency in the region after verifying the state of the Yanomami community.

One of the main causes of this situation, according to the government, has been the encouragement and defense given to the illegal extractors of gold and other precious stones, the garimpeiros, who invade and contaminate the lands of these communities and exercise violence against them.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples reported this week that at least 570 children between 1 and 4 years of age of the Yanomami community died from malnutrition, pneumonia and diarrhea in the last four years as a consequence of the advance of illegal mining, responsible for the contamination of rivers and fields. A serious increase in malaria cases has also been reported in the last year.