At least 24 caves, which hold major archaeological relevance for the understanding of the early inhabitation of the Amazon basin, will be destroyed by a gigantic iron mine project in the region of Carajás (Pará, Brazil).
While the area is a national forest and the Brazilian law demands in principle that archaeological sites be preserved, the government has given Vale, the Brazilian mining giant, what amounts to a blank license for the destruction of whatever stands in their way.
Not just that, but Vale holds control over what ongoing research can disclose of the importance of the caves:
Renato Kipnis, a respected archaeologist in São Paulo whom Vale hired to survey the caves of Carajás, said that Vale had prohibited him from discussing their archaeological significance, because of a confidentiality agreement Vale had required him to sign. Later, a Vale spokeswoman allowed Mr. Kipnis to be interviewed by e-mail, but only if the company was allowed to vet his replies.In written replies screened by Vale, he marveled at the importance of the caves.
Source: New York Times.
|NASA image of the already existing Carajás mine|