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Brazil: Rich countries that buy Brazilian gold are supporting the violence, deforestation and pollution associated with illegal mining, warns report

Agência Pública

The Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), with the support of Ibama, launched the report "The Prevalence of Illegal Gold in Brazil".

The researchers used satellite imagery to show how illegal gold mined in Indigenous reserves was laundered by being reported as having come from legitimate mining concessions; the value of this illegal gold in 2019 and 2020 exceeded $229 million, the report calculates. They estimate that nearly a third of Brazil’s gold production in 2019 and 2020 was potentially illegal or outright illegal. Two lawsuits have been filed based on the findings: one seeking the suspension of financial institutions identified as buyers of illegal gold in northern Pará state: FD Gold, Carol and Ourominas; and the other aiming to suspend all permits to mine, sell and export gold from the southwest region of Pará.

The report also highlights that 72% of Brazil’s gold exports are bought by rich countries, which means that they are, indirectly, supporting violence, deforestation and pollution associated with illegal mining.