The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) made a recommendation calling for the emergency adoption of coordinated action to repress and dismantle illegal gold mining in the Madeira River and its tributaries, in the municipality of Autazes, 113 km from Manaus, in an integrated action of agencies and competent federal and state autarchies, within 30 days.
In the document, the Brazilian Army, through the Amazon Military Command (CMA), are required to take action on the recommendation; the Superintendence of the Federal Police in Amazonas; the Itacoatiara River Agency, a Navy unit in charge of the Madeira River, subordinate to the Western Amazon River Captaincy (CFAOC); the Amazonas Environmental Protection Institute (Ipaam), the Presidency of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) and the Superintendence of the National Mining Agency (ANM) in Amazonas.
As revealed the state, the Federal Police coordinates actions to contain the advance of hundreds of illegal mining rafts that follow along the Madeira River. Other federal agencies are expected to participate in the operation, such as IBAMA and the Ministry of Defense.
In the report, senior members of the Ministry of Justice confirmed that the police are organizing a strong operation on the case. Questioned by state, the PF superintendency in Amazonas confirmed that it is aware of the fact and that it is already taking action on the matter.
According to the MPF, the bodies must, each within their sphere of competence, carry out the identification and administrative assessment of all irregular projects in operation or with signs of operation in the recent past in the Madeira River channel or tributaries, in addition to adopt measures for the immediate interruption of illicit activities, including by destroying the instruments of crime, if necessary.
The MPF monitors the situation through an extrajudicial procedure, instituted to investigate the occurrence of an alleged mass invasion of miners in the region, which occurred on November 22, 2021, after news spread in the regional and national press, which recorded the arrival of several dredgers and rafts along the Madeira River, in the region of Autazes, through widely publicized images and videos”, declared the MPF.
The MPF document also highlights that it is up to a number of agencies to provide logistical and operational support to environmental agencies, in order to facilitate the efficient repression of illegal activities, including the Federal Police, the Amazon Military Command, the National Mining Agency and the Navy.
“The coordinated action between all these actors would provide a quick and efficient response to the illegal activity taking place in the Municipality of Autazes/AM, with a prominent and coordinating role to be played by environmental agencies, holders of special expertise in combating environmental offenses in the Amazon”, states the MPF in the recommendation.
In August of this year, the Federal Court condemned the Institute for Environmental Protection of the State of Amazonas (Ipaam) to annul the licenses illegally granted for the activities of gold extraction in the Madeira river bed, in an area of more than 37 thousand hectares, in southern region of the Amazon.
The ruling, which remains valid, reaffirmed an injunction from December 2017 to that effect. As a result, all mining activity previously supported by these irregular licenses must remain paralyzed. The action that gave rise to the sentence is from the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) in a public civil action. Currently, the process is at the appeal stage.
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