Environment ‘Criminal interest’, says environmentalist about lawmakers who want to open reserves for mining in MT

Mining in the State of Mato Grosso. (Reproduction)

Victória Sales – from Cenarium Agency

MANAUS – Scheduled to be put to a vote this Tuesday, 26, in the Legislative Assembly of Mato Grosso, a Bill (PL) provides that forest reserves of the state, which are in rural properties, are open to mineral exploration. Project number 58/2020 is authored by state lawmaker Carlos Avallone (PSDB) and defines that these “areas that propitiate mining can be explored in a rational and sustainable way”.

According to environmentalist Carlos Durigan, Conservation Units (UC) are created with the purpose of protecting the natural heritage and maintaining ecosystem services, as well as guaranteeing the basis for subsistence and economic activities. Mining activities are prohibited from being carried out in protected areas because of the high degrading potential of this type of activity.

“Allowing mining in Conservation Units goes against national public interests and serves the interests of economic groups and environmental criminals and can promote the degradation of our national natural heritage”, said Durigan.


If approved, the project will allow exploration and these areas could be relocated, or even suppressed, even if characteristics are observed and considered for the final definition. According to the Federal Forest Code, Law 12.651/2012, the legal reserve is an area that is located within a rural property with the “function of ensuring the sustainable economic use of the natural resources of the rural property, assisting the conservation and rehabilitation of ecological processes and promoting the conservation of biodiversity, as well as the shelter and protection of wild fauna and native flora.

The Legal Reserve has 80% of preserved area in rural properties in the forest, located in the Legal Amazon, 35% in properties in Cerrado areas, also in the Legal Amazon, 20% of properties located in forest areas, native vegetation in the other regions of the country, and 20% of properties in general grassland areas in various parts of the country.

According to the Mato Grosso Socio-Environmental Report, even though the alteration and suppression of environmental protection areas are allowed by law, any use that compromises the integrity of the attributes that justify their protection is forbidden. “With this, the PLC 58/2020 establishes a clear decharacterization of the Legal Reserve in contradiction with the Forest Code and the Constitution of 1988 itself”, states the Observatory, formed by civil society organizations.


In a statement, the State Public Ministry (MP-MT) also questions the bill. In a document signed by the Prosecutor General of Justice, José Antônio Borges Pereira, and the Prosecutor of Justice for Environmental Defense and Urban Order, Luiz Alberto Esteves Scaloppe, the agency states that the proposal “encourages the practice of environmental crimes and results in new incentives for deforestation in the state of Mato Grosso”.

“The project intends to change the regime of the Legal Reserve Institute, decharacterizing it and delivering it to the trade its soil and, consequently, destroying the flora and fauna present there, the main reason for its existence”, it said through a note.