Federal police burn 302 illegal mining rafts in the Amazon

Mining in this area pollutes rivers and invades indigenous territories

Published on 04/09/2023 - 08:28 By Lucas Pordeus León - Agência Brasil - Rio de Janeiro

During an operation spanning 12 days, federal police have dismantled 302 rafts employed for illegal mining along the Madeira River in the state of Amazonas. 

Supported by the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), this operation, which concluded on Saturday (Aug. 2), covered a staggering 1,500 kilometers of the Madeira River, traversing five Amazonian municipalities, all in the pursuit of combating illegal mining activities in the region.

"Illegal mining in this area not only damages the environment and public health by contaminating the river with mercury and cyanide but also interferes with the culture of traditional peoples, since indigenous areas have even been invaded by criminals," as reported by the federal police in a statement.

This operation, named "Draga Zero" (Zero Dredges), focuses on dismantling the dredges—structures used to extract gold and various minerals from riverbeds. Minister of Justice and Public Security, Flávio Dino, took to social media to celebrate the action against illegal mining, stating, "We are defending the environment, safeguarding public assets, upholding national sovereignty, and combating criminal organizations."

In the images provided by the police, it is possible to see several rafts close together on fire on the Madeira River.

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Juliana Andrade

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