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Indigenous Woman's Anti-Mining Campaign in Amazon Wins Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize has been awarded to Alessandra Korap Munduruku, who led a campaign that pushed mining corporations to respect her people's Indigenous territory in the Amazon rainforest.

Shivam Dwivedi
Indigenous Woman's Anti-Mining Campaign in Amazon Wins Prize
Indigenous Woman's Anti-Mining Campaign in Amazon Wins Prize

Alessandra is one of six 2023 recipients from around the world to receive the Goldman Foundation's medal for the achievements and leadership of grassroots environmental activists. According to the charity, Anglo American committed in May 2021 to withdraw 27 authorized research applications to mine on indigenous areas, including Alessandra Munduruku's Sawré Muybu territory on 400,000 acres of rainforest on the Tapajos River.

"The award acknowledges our struggle and tells the world, 'We are here. "Multinational corporations cannot enter without first consulting Indigenous people," she told Reuters. Anglo American did not respond quickly to a request for comment.

According to the Goldman Foundation, the business informed the Brazilian government at the time that it was discontinuing prospecting requests owing to concerns voiced by Indigenous groups. "Alessandra's successful campaign represents a significant shift in private sector accountability around destructive mining in Brazil amid an intense government push for extraction in the Amazon," stated the foundation in a statement.

Following Anglo American's decision, other big mining firms indicated that they, too, would cease exploring on indigenous territory in Brazil, according to the foundation, a fact confirmed by the Brazilian mining lobby Ibram.

For the first time in decades, none of Ibram's 130 firms had mining applications in indigenous territory in 2022, according to an Ibram spokesman. Her campaign was notable for accomplishing its aim amid the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who decreased environmental regulations and advocated for commercial mining and agricultural on Indigenous territories.

International mining firms have halted exploring on Munduruku territories, but Alessandra says her people still face the threat of illicit gold miners, who have invaded her territory in increasing numbers under Bolsonaro, while Amazon rainforest devastation has reached a 15-year high.

Her Sawré Muybu area is still threatened by miners since it is not formally recognized as an Indigenous reservation. She urged President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's new socialist government to act quickly. Alessandra, 38, plans to utilize the prize money to complete her undergraduate studies in order to become a lawyer.

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