The world's largest natural lung will have a hole of 46,000 square kilometers on the border between Amapa and Para states, after the decision of the current government to rescind its reserve status and grant permission to mining companies for exploitation.
During the military dictatorship, the government created this area under the name of Reserva Nacional del Cobre y Asociados (RENCA), sheltering 40 million hectares in 1984.
According to The Guardian, more than 20 national and international companies have shown interest in the region, which is believed to have deposits of gold, copper, tantalum, nickel, manganese and iron ore.
The government measure is a desperate strategy to finally get out of the economic recession that has stalled Brazil for decades. But pressure from conservationists and environmentalists parties suggests that the government will fail to control illegal land invasion, "artisanal" mining and construction of informal roads, which would open a huge hole in the nature reserve considered the lungs of the world.
For the WWF director in Brazil, Maurício Voivodic, this will imply a "worsening of agricultural conflicts and threats to indigenous peoples and traditional populations," according to El Clarín.
"What surprises us is the lack of dialogue and transparency of a government that, through a decree, opened for mining an area that puts at risk indigenous peoples and relevant ecological conservation units in the heart of the Amazon, "said WWF Public Policy Coordinator Michel de Souza Santos.
This new measure of Temer’s government demonstrates its belief in the primacy of the economic recovery on any other aspects in the country, pulling back the nationalist measures of his predecessors, in an impetus for accelerated privatization of national industry.