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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A Brazilian judge ordered the suspension of any actions which would allow for the mining and exploration of a reserve located in the Amazon rainforest yesterday (Wednesday, August 30th).

Brazil, Amazon,The Amazon region is believed to hold record deposits of copper, manganese and other minerals,
The Amazon region is believed to hold record deposits of copper, manganese and other minerals, photo by Lubasi/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The judge’s injunction was handed down a day after the federal government announced it would replace last week’s decree to extinguish RENCA (National Reserve of Copper and Associates), after a wave of criticism from environmentalists and international entities.

According to Judge Rolando Espanholo ‘any and all administrative acts tending to extinguish the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (RENCA)’ has been suspended.

Earlier this week, the government announced it was revising its decree following the negative repercussions from environmentalists and the international media. According to the government the new decree, yet to be issued, would allow for mineral exploration where there are no conservation units and indigenous territory.

“The objective of the measure is to attract new investments, with generation of wealth for the country and employment and income for the society,” stated the note issued by Ministry of Mines and Energy earlier this week.

“It is also believed that the measure could help in combating illegal mining sites installed in the region,” concluded the statement.

For environment minister, Sarney Filho, the government felt obliged to revise the original decree after a wave of criticism from environmentalists and international entities made headlines.

“It was understood by most of society that we were loosening the rules against Amazon deforestation, that we would be abandoning the Amazon, and that does not correspond to reality, on the contrary,” the minister told reporters.

The 47,000 square kilometer reserve is located in the states of Amapá and Pará and believed to hold record deposits of copper, gold, manganese, iron and other minerals.

Environmentalists argue that the extinction of the Renca will open up an untouched area of the Amazon rainforest subject to private and indiscriminate exploration.

The reserve was created in 1984 by the government of João Figueiredo, the last president of Brazil’s military dictatorship period.

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