Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has signed a decree legalizing artisanal gold mining in the Amazon rainforest, according to National Geographic.
At present, there are many so-called garimpos in Brazil: miners who independently extract minerals. Environmentalists compare them to poachers - they pollute the environment and cut down forests.
The government estimates that there are 4,000 illegal miners working on indigenous territory, but environmentalists believe the figure is much higher. Protected reserves of indigenous peoples suffer the most.
In addition, the use of mercury to clean up the golden sand makes rivers toxic. Finally, illegal gold miners are linked to organized crime. There are often fatal clashes between armed miners and indigenous people trying to defend their territory.
Instead of fighting this activity, the authorities are going to develop a state policy that will "stimulate the development of artisanal and small-scale mining."
“The program will cover nine states that account for 60% of Brazil's forested area. This will lead to even more devastation of the rainforests. Last year, mining destroyed a record 125 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon.