Sitawi's position on the threat of illegal mining activities in protected areas in the Middle Juruá region, in Amazonas

In the face of a recent finding by local populations and a complaint published in the press about the movement of rafts and mining dredgers in Conservation Units on the Juruá River, the Sitawi, as coordinator of the Middle Juruá Territory Program, manifests its position against the installation of illegal exploration activities in favor of defending the integrity of the territory and the safety of its communities.

According to a text published on the Amazonia Real news portal, residents of the Baixo Juruá Extractive Reserve (RESEX) intercepted a ferry that was navigating the Andirá River, located within the limits of this Conservation Unit. After notifying the miners that it was a Protected Area, the ferry left this part of the river. However, the situation continues to alarm the population because, according to local sources, the same vessel is still anchored in another location on the Juruá River and two new rafts have been sighted on the way to the Andirá River.

We endorse the Middle Juruá Territory Forum (TMJ), an institution made up of 19 public and private organizations operating in the territory, and the National Council of Extractive Populations (CNS), which filed a complaint with the Federal Public Ministry and other bodies, condemning what happened and requesting the adoption of concrete actions to prevent the installation of illegal mining in the region. 

According to a survey carried out by the entity, there are at least seven mining processes open at the National Mining Agency with incidence in the region, however, the Forum stresses that none has a legal grant for any mineral exploration activity in these municipalities. 

The sustainable management of natural resources and the conservation of biodiversity are essential pillars for the territory and form the basis of the production chains carried out by traditional agroextractivist and indigenous communities. Among the activities focused on conserving biodiversity and generating income in a sustainable way are, for example, handling wild arapaima and other fish; the monitoring of chelonian conservation boards; extraction of oilseeds, latex and açaí; environmental education programs and local organizational strengthening. 

We therefore emphasize to civil society and public bodies the concern of those involved in the Middle Juruá Territory Program with the episode and the threat it poses to the sovereignty of the territory and its protected areas. We draw attention to the seriousness of implementing illegal mining activities, which can cause irreversible damage to biodiversity, human health and local value chains, making sustainable activities that have been consolidating through the historic collective organization in these communities unfeasible.

1. https://amazoniareal.com.br/balsa-de-garimpo-invade-o-jurua-area-mais-preservada-da-amazonia/
2. In addition to the Federal Public Ministry, the note was also sent to the Public Ministry of the State of Amazonas (MPE/AM), Regional Superintendence of the Federal Police in Amazonas, State Secretariat for the Environment of Amazonas and to the Public Prosecutor's Office of Carauari .

About the Middle Juruá Territory Program

The Middle Juruá Territory Program is part of the Ramsar Site on the Juruá River, an international recognition that reinforces the importance of biodiversity protection measures and recommends that they be strengthened and expanded. The region is made up of three conservation units: the Uacari Sustainable Development Reserve, the Extractive Reserves (Resex) of the Lower Juruá and Middle Juruá Rivers, the Deni Indigenous Land, in addition to a vast area along the river.

Since 2017, PTMJ has been working on three integrated pillars: sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity conservation and social cohesion. The actions are focused on supporting the strengthening of Middle Juruá product chains, promoting local entrepreneurship, the sustainable use and management of natural resources and the strengthening of community organizations and their local governance. We seek, therefore, to ensure the improvement in the management of extractive-based enterprises, the quality of life of the population and the conservation of biodiversity in the Amazon. In all, the program supports more than 4,500 residents of 61 riverside communities.

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