In Pará, farm with illegal mining caused environmental damage of R$200 billion

According to the (PF), the businessman had no permission from the Union to extract gold on the property and no environmental license (Reproduction)
Iury Lima – Cenarium Magazine

VILHENA (RO) – A big cattle farmer businessman from Pará, owner of a farm in the city of Curionópolis, almost 700 kilometers from Belém, was arrested, this Wednesday, 8, for financing illegal gold mining and for environmental damages estimated at R$ 200 billion.

The mining activities occurred on his property, valued at R$ 200 million. According to the Federal Police (PF), the businessman had no permission from the Union to extract gold on the property – the so-called Mining Permit or Mining Concession, issued by the National Mining Agency (ANM) – nor environmental licenses.

The arrest is part of the Operação Boi Dourado, to combat illegal mining. The federal agents also carried out nine search and seizure warrants in the city of Marabá (PA) and in the capital of Goiás, Goiânia. The Federal Court also ordered the sequestration of assets worth R$ 161 million, which will be used, in case of conviction, for environmental reparation.

Farmer financed the extraction, processing and sale of illegal gold, in Pará (Federal Police/Reproduction)

According to the police, the farmer’s financial transactions indicate that third parties acted as intermediaries in the sale of gold extracted illegally. Before that, the ore was processed, in a kind of processing with chemical reagents.

So far the police seized five pickup trucks, cell phones, documents, R$ 25 thousand in cash, two rifles and a small amount of gold.

Environmental damage caused by mining is estimated to be around R$ 200 billion (Federal Police/Reproduction)

Risk to the electric system

Also according to the Federal Police, the mining activity and the environmental damage put the National Electric System at risk because it was close to the Xingu-Rio transmission line.

The company that bears the same name as the line, responsible for the electrical supply for about 20 million people, notified the police that during an inspection of more than 4,000 power towers it noticed that gold mining was approaching the transmission line.

The Xingu-Rio line is the longest in the world, more than 2,500 kilometers long, carrying power generated from Belo Monte in Pará to Rio de Janeiro.

Police seized gold, money, weapons, cars, cell phones and documents in nine addresses (Polícia Federal/Reproduction)

Environmental damage

In addition, there is a risk of pollution in the Sereno River, a tributary of the Tocantins River, responsible for supplying several cities in Pará.

The police state that an on-site investigation is yet to estimate more precisely the amount of environmental damage caused by mining, and point out that the amount calculated takes into consideration the cost necessary to restore the environment.

Among the environmental crimes, the police found, besides the vast area of illegal mining, “deforestation, excavations, severe soil contamination, silting, and contamination of the river near the property with mercury and other substances.

Gold was processed in a kind of laboratory, according to the police (Polícia Federal/Reproduction)

For the delegate and head of the operation, Ezequias Martins, the action “was successful”. He explains that equipment used in the criminal practice and in a gold processing laboratory, found in one of the nine addresses targeted by the operation, were destroyed.

“Some engines and fuel pumps were rendered useless, as well as utensils that are naturally used in the gold processing chain,” he explained. “In one of the houses that were the target of today’s search, a laboratory was also located for the beneficiation of gold, chemicals that are used in the separation of gold and then in the agglutination of gold”, he added.

“That the investigated may bear at least part of the costs resulting from the very serious environmental damage,” said the delegate. The investigators may answer for the crimes of usurpation of federal property, environmental crimes and criminal association.


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