Mining: Bill developed with technical support from Escolhas seeks to improve control over the sale of gold and make the sector more transparent
Amends Law 7766 (11 May 1989) and Law 9613 (3 March 1998) in order to establish parameters on the marketing of gold, and revokes articles of Law 12844 (19 July 2013).
Tracking the origin of gold and increasing transparency are major challenges for reducing environmental impact and human rights violations in gold extraction in Brazil, an industry which is rife with illegality, particularly in the Amazon. Currently, the search for gold threatens over six million hectares of Indigenous Lands (TIs) and Conservation Units (UCs) in the Legal Amazon, as shown in a study by Escolhas.
The Bill (PL) 836/2021, drafted by the Instituto Escolhas and presented by Senator Fabiano Contarato (Rede/ES), aims to improve financial institutions’ control over the sale of gold, ensuring proof of the mineral’s legal origin and environmental compliance.
Larissa Rodrigues, Projects and Products Manager at the Instituto Escolhas, explains that currently, when wildcat gold miners sell to gold trading posts in the Amazon (which are part of the financial system), they need only show an identity document and fill out a form by hand to declare the metal’s origin, without requiring any kind of proof. As a result, illegal gold formally enters the financial market in an operation called ‘gold laundering’.
“Seeing as the controls for commercialization are still weak, it is impossible to guarantee that the gold on the financial market did not originate from an Indigenous Land or Conservation Unit. That’s why PL 836/2021 is fundamental”, says Larissa.
Today, the negative impacts of gold prospecting in the Amazon are worsened by movements to regularize illegal wildcat gold mining activities, as well as by the Brazilian federal government’s PL 191/2020 – a bill designed to allow mining on Indigenous Lands, despite the fact that it has already been proven that this activity does not contribute to development for the Amazon, succeeding only in leaving the region impoverished, sick and uneducated (see more in the study “What is the real socioeconomic impact of gold and diamond mining in the Amazon?”).
Click here to see the text of PL 836/21 (Portuguese version).