sharing in governance of extractive industries

Brazil's new mining code: What's the rush?

3 reasons why Brazil should abandon plans to approve a revised mining code in the next 90 days

After four years of discussion of mining code reforms happening behind closed doors, the Brazilian government has decided to allow just 90 days for public debate on the contents of a revised draft of its 45-year old Mining Code. It’s being enacted on a “legal urgency” basis, but many Brazilians agree that this new bill will have major implications for citizen engagement in decision-making around mining development in the future.

Mining plays a huge role in the Brazilian economy, accounting for 4% of GDP and close to a quarter of its exports. So it comes as no surprise that the Brazilian government prioritizes encouraging investment and keeping mining companies happy. Most stakeholders agree on the need for reform of Brazil’s decades-old mining sector regulations, but civil society groups in Brazil are concerned with the speed with which legislations suddenly seems to be moving.

In a recent interview, Carlos Bittencourt of the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis stated that this decision reflects the Brazilian government’s positioning “against debate and citizen participation.” He notes that while government has not committed to meeting any of the demands from civil society, “companies were able to negotiate details of the proposal prior to its submission to Congress, for example, on the issue of taxation and royalty rates.”

Although business and several government agencies engaged on the content of the bill, unions, NGOs, and other civil society actors have been practically absent from discussions.

Why should the government slow down the legislative process to allow space for citizen voices?

Check out my full blog posted on the Oxfam America website for just a few reasons:


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