Doctor in Socio-Environmental Science defends alternative legal income for miners

Miners on the Madeira, in the Axinim community, in the municipality of Borba (149 kilometers from Manaus). (Ricardo Oliveira/CENARIUM)

Gabriel Abreu – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – Amid the operation of the Federal Police (PF) and the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) this weekend to combat illegal mining on Rio Madeira, some questions remain unanswered, as the fate of families who had the rafts burned. To raise the discussion, CENARIUM heard from Erivaldo Cavalcanti, professor of the Environmental Master’s course of the Federal University of Amazonas (Ufam) and the State University of Amazonas (UEA), and doctor in Socio-Environmental Science. He defended that the Brazilian state needs to create income alternatives within legality for people who are in illegal activity.

“It is necessary to understand that on the other side there are also people who want to generate wealth, who want to generate income and who need an activity. The point is that, in the name of this, we can’t allow the illicit and there, once again, the presence of the Brazilian state is necessary and, when I say Brazilian state, it is the state with all its federative entities, it is the Union, the federative state, and also the municipalities. Who is inserted in this activity, many times, has no other way to go”, highlighted Erivaldo.

Professor of the Environmental Master’s Degree from the Federal University of Amazonas (Ufam) and from the Amazonas State University (UEA) and doctor in Socio-environmental Science, Erivaldo Cavalcanti. (Reproduction)

The doctor in Socio-Environmental Science defended alternatives to generate income. “The State should not only act as a coercive conduit, it also needs to present answers, alternatives to these demands, what to do with those people? Throw them into the middle of the cities so that they can do ‘what they want’? No. The State must get there, show the environmental issue, but, at the same time, create, at least, income alternatives for these people. These alternatives should be within a legal framework. Except for the financiers that are behind those boats, the people that are there are because they have nothing else to earn money. So, this is what the State also needs to do”, concluded the professor.

In the morning, a group of miners held a demonstration in the municipality of Borba (distant 149 kilometers from Manaus) against the operation, since it is from illegal mining that they derive an income. In the production chain inside the dredges, an average of five people are employed, who take turns in the activity during the 24 hours.


According to the Minister of Justice, Anderson Torres, more than 60 rafts were set on fire during the first day of the operation along the Madeira. The operation aims to dismantle the action of illegal miners who operated in more than 300 “rafts-dredges” performing the illegal extraction of metals from the Madeira. This Sunday, 28, the agents of the Federal Police and IBAMA continued the inspections in the municipality of Borba.

Read also: ‘We are not criminals’, say miners who insist on staying on Rio Madeira after Federal Police operation

Note from Ibama

In a statement, Ibama said that the integrated operation with the Federal Police, the National Force and the Brazilian Navy is working hard against illegal mining in the region of the Madeira in the Amazon and that the operation began last Wednesday, 24, when Ibama helicopters reconnoitered the site, adjusting all the necessary points for the intervention of the state repression forces, thus bringing effective results in the fight against environmental crimes in that region. The government will continue acting at the site, until the situation is resolved.


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