September 20, 2019 | Featured

Globo Network lies: News item from Jornal Nacional lies about mining projects in the Amazon

On the night of September 17, an item was aired by Jornal Nacional, a evening news program broadcasted by Globo Television Network, with the following title: “Mining can be an ally of the environment”. The article focused attention on some mega industrial mining projects installed in the state of Pará, in the Brazilian Amazon. With the untruthful argument of supposed sustainable mining, it presented large mining projects in the state of Pará, as if they were positive examples of an integrated mining environment. They are not.

The presentation of the Grande Carajás Project, celebrated as a prime example of integration with the Amazon rainforest, is a total fantasy. In addition to driving a macro region to ore dependency, it continues to represent a huge waste of nature for the profit of small private groups. There is accelerated and rampant exploration to ensure high export rates of mineral commodities. For the people of the region, mining by Vale S.A. and associated companies represents the development of underdevelopment: underemployment, increased violence, economic dependence, water course contamination and destruction of traditional ways of life.

In the region of Carajás we could translate it this way: in just under 40 years, the Vale company destroyed one and a half million hectares of forest, cut to become coal in the Pará steel mills and in Açailândia, in Maranhão. In these decades we had rivers being dammed by hydroelectric dams to generate energy for these companies, the creation of cities with intense inequality and poverty and the land imprisoned by farmers who associate with Vale, in a strategy of domination of the territory. Vale fosters the existence of predatory local political elites and manipulates national public opinion about the serious economic and social consequences generated for the lives of approximately one million eight hundred thousand inhabitants, who live in southeastern Pará. Vale also permanently affronts the indigenous and quilombola peoples, who are negatively impacted by the Carajás project.

Globo intentionally ommitted much information. For example, there are numerous tailings dams produced by the Carajás project, located within the Carajás National Forest. In some we have 90 million cubic meters of tailings, almost double what existed in the Fundão dam that broke in Mariana (MG). A possible breach of the Carajás dams could reach the Parauapebas city of more than 200,000 inhabitants and lead to the death of the entire Parauapebas River, Itacaiúnas River and Tocantins River. The impact could even contaminate the bay of Rio Guajará, which reaches Belém, capital of the state of Pará. And the city is already deeply affected by water contamination due to successive leaks from the industrial complex of mining company Hydro Alunorte in Barcarena, metropolitan region of Belém. The destruction caused in Barcarena is another striking example of the harmful effects that mining has caused in the state of Pará. There are almost 20 tailings leaks, accumulating health problems for the local population, destruction of streams over the years, springs, streams and the Mucuripe River, which was the main source of income for artisanal fishers and the riverside population.

The lies accumulate in the report published by Journal Nacional: the Rio Norte Mining Project (located in the region of Oriximiná, western Pará) has brought irreversible impacts to the quilombola, indigenous and riverside communities of the region. The Vale company, still a state-owned company, caused a huge contamination of tailings in the 80’s in Batata Lake, located in this same region. And mining company Rio Norte has installed tailings dams a few kilometers from quilombola territories in the Alto Trombetas. In case of disruption, the quilombola population of some communities would have only minutes to save themselves. The mining complex has for many years been affecting the region’s watercourses with frequent contamination.

Another supposedly positive example presented by the report is the company Alcoa, which operates bauxite in the Juruti region, west of Pará. Globo wanted to show a reality as if it were paradise, as if the life of the people had improved immensely, with large amounts received by the community. The reality, of course, is quite different. After 10 years of implementation of the Alcoa project we have a total failure of the initiatives made by the company, in what would be environmental preservation and projects aimed at the Juruti Velho community. The projects the mining company initially implemented as a strategy of trying to get community support, are bankrupt.

Vegetable gardens, fish farming and vegetable projects were not well executed by the company and did not work. Some never left the paper.

We cannot accept the idea that these projects are sustainable and therefore have an ‘environmental responsibility’. In particular, these projects pose a great risk to their workers, the surrounding populations and the environment as a whole. The crimes that happened in Brazil in the last 4 years, caused by mining companies in Mariana, Brumadinho and Barcarena are the most tragic examples of what the Brazilian mineral model means. Nearly 300 people were murdered in Mariana and Brumadinho for these capital death projects. These crimes are the price paid for mining “progress”. Mining crimes are politically and technically built!

We could cite numerous mining enterprises that contaminate society day by day in their daily operations. Projects that are set up using the rhetoric of development and progress, but which actually ruin territories by the destructive technicality of enterprise, compulsory displacement, the concentration of income and the extreme poverty generated.

The story is broadcast as the Bolsonaro government articulates the unrestricted release of mining in Indigenous Lands (TI’s). And that the president himself insistently defends mining and industrial mining in indigenous territories to “develop” what Bolsonaro considers unproductive areas. The Globo report is not a coincidence in this context. The Legal Amazon is exactly the most desired area for mineral capital. And the greatest protection today to stop rampant mining in the Amazon is precisely the Indigenous Lands. To affirm that “mining can be an ally of the environment”, and to focus on the large mining enterprises located in the Pará Amazon, is paving the way for the discourse that mining can be reconciled with indigenous territories. Or even worse: that mining can help indigenous territories.

The Amazon has nothing to celebrate with the mining companies operating in the region. Vale and the major mining companies try to hijack politics and subordinate the state. And they seek to convince the population through paid and lying stories like the one broadcast by Rede Globo, a network which has always been against the interest of the Brazilian people and in the service of capital. The newspaper Jornal Nacional is another indignant example of how Globo tries to deceive the people.

For popular sovereignty in mining!
For mining free territories!
For popular control of mining companies!
For a sovereign and serious country! Against the sack of our ores!
Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mining – MAM

Maraba (PA), September 19, 2019