The Brazilian regime held a briefing on Friday to inform European diplomats about the proposals that have drawn criticism from Indigenous advocates in Brazil and overseas.
According to a public statement on the ministry’s website, the Mning and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque told the European diplomats on Friday that “significant leadership” from native communities had asked for the opportunity to mine on their lands.
The initiative is part of President Jair Bolsonaro’s push to encourage farming, ranching and mining on tribal reservations, which he has criticized for slowing economic progress. European leaders have voiced concerns that his policies will increase deforestation and threaten indigenous cultures.
“There is a lot of misinformation regarding this issue, so it is important that the international community listen to what the government has to say,” said Alexandre Vidigal, secretary for geology and mining at the ministry, in the statement.
The ministry said representatives of France, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands and the European Union took part in the meeting on Thursday.
The Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), which advocates for native rights in Brazil, has argued against Bolsonaro’s plans to open up mining on reservation lands, saying most indigenous groups are opposed. Conflicts between illegal miners and natives have led to bloodshed on both sides in recent years.