Remi Piet: Mining on Indigenous Land in Brazil Would Trigger Conflict

- February 25th, 2020

Remi Piet thinks attempts to mine on indigenous land in Brazil after reforms from Bolsonaro would likely be more trouble than they are worth.

A new bill in Brazil regarding the development of indigenous lands would further damage the resources industry’s reputation if passed, according to Remi Piet of Americas Market Intelligence.

Speaking with the Investing News Network, Piet said that the bill from President Jair Bolsonaro, which proposes opening up indigenous lands for economic development, is “something that was expected for several months” and is within the firebrand president’s modus operandi.

Under previous presidents in Brazil, there “was a clear understanding that indigenous communities had the right to live on lands that were historically under their control,” said Piet, who added that Bolsonaro has long believed the communities have too much power over their land.

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Under the bill, which is currently being debated in Brazil, indigenous communities would be consulted, but would not have any veto rights over development proposals on indigenous land.

The bill would include farming, tourism, resources and industrial development.

Piet said that the “catastrophic” reputation of the resources industry in Brazil means that such a move to open up indigenous land would be met with fierce opposition, and the payoff for any mining company that might decide to mine on indigenous land would likely not be worth the trouble.

He added that it is another “strongly antagonistic move from Bolsonaro” that would undermine any attempts to improve the reputation of the sector.

Indigenous lands cover as much as 13 percent of Brazil, and according to Piet, the geological understanding of these lands is minimal.

Piet also touched on developments in Peru, where President Martin Vizcarra has secured himself some legitimacy in his efforts to undo corruption.

A recent election, which Piet said has strengthened Vizcarra’s position, saw his primary opponents in congress reduced to a rump.

“What’s important for the mining community is now they have someone to talk to in Lima that has a stronger position (and) the key opposition (has been) reduced in its capacity to prevent reforms by the Vizcarra administration,” he said.

Piet also talked about the recent Mining Indaba conference in South Africa and attempts by a Chinese consortium to force a US$480 million arbitration fight with the Ecuadorian government over a blocked gold mine. Listen to the full interview with Remi Piet above.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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