Alcoa to bulldoze 25,000 acres


Alcoa, the world's second-largest primary aluminium producer, have started bulldozing a 56 kilometre swath of Brazilian Amazon in Para state report Bloomberg. The clearing will end at a bauxite mine that will destroy 10,500 hectares (25,900 acres) of pristine rainforest over the next 30 years.

The mine is in the Juruti region of Para and half of it sits inside a section of forest that, under Brazilian federal law, is supposed to be protected forever for the local residents.

The case has already led to Brazilian federal and Para state prosectors suing Alcoa's Brazilian subsidiary in 2005 in an attempt to block the mine. They say Alcoa had circumvented the law by not applying for a federal permit and instead seeking a licence from the state of Para. Alcoa say they have all necessary permits.

alcoa-brazil-forestBauxite is the red-coloured ore used in the production of aluminium and Alcoa says by the end of the year the mine will be sending 7,000 tons down the railway to a port on the Amazon River.

The statistics surrounding the Amazon are almost to large to comprehend. Up to three million acres of forest are lost in Brazil every year and about 20 per cent has already been destroyed. At the current rates of deforestation there will be no forest left by the middle of this century: precisely at the time when the global community needs to have reduced carbon emissions by 80 per cent.

Deforestation accounts for about 20 per cent of global carbon emissions., which was acknowledged on a recent trip to the Amazon by the UK's Climate Minister Ed Miliband.

Strong leadership is absolutely imperative in these critical months leading to Copenhagen.