Brazil's government to present bill allowing mining on indigenous reserves

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque and Brazil's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes attend a news conference after a meeting with Petrobras CEO Roberto Castello Branco (not pictured) at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s government will present a bill later this month giving more leeway to mining in the country, including allowing mines on indigenous land, Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque said on Thursday.

The bill, which is already being analyzed by the president’s chief of staff, will also look to legalize more small-scale, independent wildcat mines, many of which now operate illegally, the minister said at a ceremony in Brasilia.

In July, the Mines and Energy ministry announced the creation of a working group to analyze how best to simplify Brazil’s mineral prospecting process.

Conservative President Jair Bolsonaro has sought to open up indigenous reservations to mining, logging and farming, which observers say has helped fuel the fires that have swept through the Amazon rainforest this year.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu Writing by Jamie McGeever and Jake Spring