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Mura indigenous people show support for Brazil Potash’s Autazes project

Published by , Deputy Editor
World Fertilizer,

Brazil Potash Corp. has reported that the Mura indigenous people have completed free, prior, and informed consultations resulting in a vote of support for construction of the Autazes potash project located in the Amazonas State of Brazil.

Brazil Potash’s Project is not located on indigenous land but is located within 10 km of two indigenous reserves who have a legal right to be consulted. Following International Labour Organisation 169 protocols, the Mura decided which tribes would be consulted, the consultation format and vote support threshold. Ultimately, the Mura decided to consult with 36 tribes ranging from those located close to the project site to some being over 70 km away in a series of gatherings during which the Mura learned about the project, its impacts on their way of life and opportunities to improve their wellness. Based on these consultations, a vote was held with participation from more than 200 Mura people, resulting in a positive vote in support of the project being constructed and operated.

Development of this project provides several meaningful benefits to the Mura people including opportunities for direct employment, funding and support to start new businesses that will contribute to the project and/or local community, and the implementation of several initiatives to improve general wellbeing as determined by the Mura’s well-being programme.

Brazil Potash still requires Brazil’s government Indigenous people’s agency (FUNAI) to complete their review of the company’s Indigenous Consultation Study, which is the second last item required prior to issuance of the Installation License required to start project construction. Having this free, prior, and informed Mura vote sends a clear and positive message to FUNAI that the Mura wishes are to have the project built and therefore permits to be issued.

José Cláudio dos Santos Pereira, Coordinator of CIM (Mura Indigenous Council) stated at the presentation of results from their ILO 169 based consultation: “The Autazes Potash Project has received unanimous support from the leaders of the Mura People in Autazes. For us, this is of great importance as it symbolises the future and economic improvement of Autazes and the state of Amazonas. However, it's crucial to emphasise that the Mura people understand that we are cooperating with federal justice, and we have no intention of opposing [the project]. We recognise that IPAAM is the licensing authority and that they must carry on the process."

Amazonas Governor, Wilson Lima, said, “Today is a historic day because we have taken a significant step towards changing the lives of the people living in the state of Amazonas, especially those residing in the municipality of Autazes. The decision by Mura leaders to support the exploration of potash in Autazes is a crucial development for our state. This will not only benefit the municipality but will also have the potential to become a new economic model for the Amazonas State. We are committed to conducting this process responsibly, taking into consideration the environment and the interests of the local communities.”

Brazil Potash’s President, Adriano Espeschit, commented “after several years of thoughtful consultations, I am pleased to see it culminate in the Mura Indigenous people voting in support of the Autazes potash Project. Given the Project’s location in the Amazonas State on land deforested by prior owners, it is particularly important this project is developed on a sustainable basis by ensuring key stakeholder voices, such as the Mura, are heard and respected. It is also important to note this project is of global importance as it will contribute meaningfully towards achieving global food security by ensuring farmers in Brazil, who export the highest net amount of agricultural goods globally, will have a secure domestic source of potash fertilizer.”

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