Co-authored by Amazon Watch and the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples
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Grafismo Indígena

Complicity  IN
Destruction IV:

How mining companies and international investors drive Indigenous rights violations and threaten the future of the Amazon

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Photo: Cícero Bezerra
Grafismo Indígena
Photo: Adriano Machado / Greenpeace
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Authors’ Note

Photo: Pedrosa Neto | Amazônia Real

The impacts of mining

Industrial mining is an activity that causes deep social and environmental impacts that extend far beyond the territories where companies operate, and which can last for decades even after exploration ends. These impacts are felt particularly by Indigenous peoples, and have intensified in recent years in Brazil. Despite all these impacts, mining does not deliver the development it promises. See some of the impacts that are detailed in the report:

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Photo: Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace
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Despite announcements by large mining companies that they would abandon their interests in Brazilian Indigenous Lands, thousands of mining applications with interference on these territories remain active in the National Mining Agency's database.

The mining companies highlighted in this report, in addition to a history of conflicts, violations and devastation, had 225 active applications to search for ores overlapping 34 Indigenous Lands as of November 5, 2021 an area corresponding to 5,700 km² (more than three times the City of London).

The ILs most affected by these requests are Xikrin do Cateté and Waimiri Atroari, both with 34 applications each. Sawré Muybu (21) and Apyterewa (13) complete the list of lands most affected by these requests. The ethnic group most impacted by these mining applications is the Kayapó, with 73 requests. Following are the Waimiri Atroari (34), Munduruku (25), Mura (14), Parakanã (13), among others. At least five applications are in areas where Indigenous people of the Apiaká ethnic group live in voluntary isolation.

Learn more about the impact some of these companies have on Indigenous territories and traditional populations in the case studies in this report.


Top 6 Investidores
Photo: Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

Who finances this destruction?

Resistance Strategies

Indigenous peoples have resisted the threats posed by industrial and wildcat mining for centuries. Despite the most recent move by Bolsonaro’ government to open its territories to mining operations—supported by local politicians and entrepreneurs, multinational companies, sectors of the financial market and even foreign ambassadors—its strategy of fabricating popular support for this agenda is crumbling in the face of the mobilization of Indigenous peoples.

The main Indigenous organizations in Brazil, such as APIB and the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab), as well as associations representing various ethnic groups—such as the Munduruku, the Yanomami, and the Pataxó peoples, among others—have bluntly made the case against mining and garimpo. In addition to nationwide mobilizations, Indigenous peoples from all over Brazil and Latin America have found different ways to resist mining in their territories and to seek out alternatives to this predatory development model. Alternatives that place the sustainability of life, and not profit, as the main goal.

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Photo: Oliver Kornblihtt / Mídia NINJA COPCollab26


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