University of São Paulo: OECD report on mining in Brazil addresses sustainability and mining

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on Regulatory Governance in the Mining Sector in Brazil will provide a diagnosis of this sector and address topics such as sustainable mining, small-scale mining and prospecting.

Professor Giorgio De Tomi, from the Department of Mining and Petroleum Engineering at the USP Polytechnic School and from the Research Center for Responsible Mining (NAP), in an interview with Jornal da USP in Ar 1st Edition , said that this report will contribute to the regulation of the Brazilian mining sector and to meet the expectations of society “especially with this change in relation to carbon neutrality and the entire energy transition”.

Sustainable mining and local participation

The professor highlighted that sustainable mining is already taking place, however, it is not so widespread and must be socially aligned. “Today, when talking about sustainable mining, you have to see what will be done in accordance with official regulations, with the will of the local community and that is well aligned in relation to mine closure and the future use of that territory.”

Tomi also highlights that the discussion to regulate the activity, both environmentally and economically, brings together local communities and the three spheres of power. “Some of the environmental licensing and especially the tax collection part has to be discussed not only at the federal level, but at the state and municipal levels.”

Mining and small mining
The main barriers to progress in mining regulation, according to the professor, are small-scale mining and prospecting. These activities require regulations to be proportionate to the risk, as a small operation, for example, generally does not require dams and has a lower risk. “This will help this sector a lot and is fundamental for those minerals that still have to be produced to contribute to the energy transition process”, he says.

When explaining whether illegal mining would be included in this regulation, the professor highlighted that he needs to organize which institution will act in each case. “There is a big difference between informal mining and illegal operations. The illegal operation is not prospecting or mining, it is a matter for the Federal Police. […] The mining bodies have to work in informal mining and help them to formalize themselves”, he emphasizes.

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