photo: Serabi Gold Company
On Twitter, Serabi Gold @Serabi_Gold “A Brazilian focused gold mining and development company listed on AIM (SRB) and TSX (SBI, with assets located in the Tapajos region of Para State.” announced on April 20, 2023:
“#Serabi issues Q1 2023 financial results. Cash at 31 March of US$13.2m. Plant feed grades were the highest since the third quarter of 2021, benefitting in part from higher grade ore from #Coringa.”
And on April 19: “Following #Serabi‘s robust first quarter for 2023, CEO Mike Hodgson commented: ‘The mine development at the Coringa Project is continuing as planned and the development grades as we explore and evaluate the orebody have been spectacular.’ “
A film on Twitter made by the company on July 24, 2021, explains how the Coringa mine will be exploited: “Mine development underway at Coringa. Follow this link to view the video of progress to date”: https://bit.ly/2XrvZQW
On December 9, 2021: “Serabi advises that contrary to reports of suspension of awards of future licences, current project development plans at Coringa are continuing and the current expected timeline for the award of the LI for Coringa is not expected to be affected.”
photo: Serabi Gold (detail: from Twitter)
Serabi’s chief executive, Mike Hodge, said in a March 22, 2023 statement to investors that the company started a consultation process with Indigenous communities early last year. “While progress has been slower than we were originally led to believe, the final report is expected to be available to be presented to the authorities for their review in the next few weeks.”
Meanwhile, Serabi Gold has been blasting the forest, digging tunnels and trucking out gold ore from the Coringa site. Interviews with land agency officials and documents seen by the Guardian, Unearthed and Sumaúma indicate that ownership of the area is disputed and the land was allegedly occupied by illegal land-grabbers who, in 2016, “sold” the area to a Canadian mining company, Chapleau, which is now wholly owned by Serabi as of December 2017.
Brazil’s lax and vague mining code permits companies to sign mining agreements with “the owners or occupants” of the land, whether or not their claim is legally recognized. Brazil’s mining agency, ANM, and Pará state’s environmental and sustainability department, Semas, both had issued operating licences, which were automatically renewed last August, despite a court order that the Coringa project should not receive authorization until the company concluded a consultation with nearby Baú and Kayapó Mekrãgnoti Indigenous communities. The mining agency subsequently halted approval in February 2023 and stated “There is no current authorization for mining in these areas.”
Serabi says that, under Brazilian law, if renewal applications have been submitted the licenses are automatically extended. And in an update published March, 2023: “The company confirms that renewal applications have been submitted within the stipulated time frames and that no notifications have been received from the issuing authorities that renewal will not be approved. Accordingly, these licences, which had an initial expiry date of 8 August 2022, remain valid.”
Despite a statement in a 2017 report by Antônio José Ferreira da Silva, a land authority official at Incra, concerning the unauthorized mining: “we have an ongoing administrative process at Incra to take back these areas,” the mine started exploratory production last year and Serabi reported 1,013 ounces (28.7 kg) of gold from Coringa. Serabi plans to extract more than a ton of gold yearly, worth $70m (£56m). “Chapleau [now Serabi] recognizes as the owner of the area a guy who grabbed public land using fraud,” said Incra’s Ferreira da Silva.
In statement to the Guardian and its partners, the company said: “Serabi operates and complies with the Brazilian legal mining framework, we have all the required permits for our trial mining operation at Coringa and we are completely comfortable with our legal position and behavior in relation to the ongoing disputed land ownership within which Coringa sits. Serabi has been operating in Pará state for over 20 years and remains committed to working with all stakeholders, supporting local communities and operating in an environmentally sensitive manner.”
Felício Pontes Junior, the senior public prosecutor who has been accompanying the case in the high court, said: “I hope that there will be an exemplary punishment to this company and that this will serve as an example to the other mining companies, especially the foreign ones, which today settle in the Amazon without respect to the basic rights of the traditional peoples.”
Bepdjo Mekrãgnotire, of the Kayapó people, said to a reporter from Unearthed that they were not consulted before the gold mining began and that he first became aware the mine was in operation due to the sound of explosives. “We were collecting Brazil nuts last year and the noise scared us. That’s when we found out.”
ALL GOLD MINING, legal and illegal, destroys forests and contaminates water, wildlife and Indigenous communities.
You, too, can help keep multinational corporations as well as illegal criminal elements out of Indigenous territories globally by boycotting ALL products from deforestation; gold, palm oil, gemstones, exotic wood, soy, beef, etc. !
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Thanks dear BArbara. Not surprised at all. Go ahead. ! 🙂
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