A reserve in the Amazonian rainforest the size of Denmark has been dissolved. This means that the protected Renca reserve is now open to mineral mining from private companies.
The move comes from Brazilian president Michel Temer, reports The Guardian. The region is attractive to certain businesses as it is believed to contain copper, gold, iron ore, nickel and manganese.
For the government, the reason given for the move is a desire to attract foreign investment. The country has been struggling economically follow a deep recession.
WWF Brazil note on their website that the region, which has been protected from mining since 1984, covers "state forests, ecological reserves and indigenous lands."
"The area known as Renca encompasses nine protected areas: the Tumucumaque Mountains National Park, the Paru and Amapá State Forests, the Maicuru Biological Reserve, the Jari Ecological Station, the Rio Cajari Extractive Reserve, the Rio Iratapuru and the Waiãpi Indigenous Lands and Rio Paru d`Este," they continue.
According to the government, the reserve's change in status will not affect these indigenous territories and conservation areas, which they say will continue to be protected.
WWF-Brazil's executive director, Mauricio Voivodic, however, believes that allowing mining will put ghe protected areas at risk. "In addition to demographic exploitation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and water resources, there will be intensification of land conflicts and threats to indigenous peoples and traditional populations," he said.