Suspension of the good faith principle by the Supreme Court ensures more transparency and control for gold trade in Brazil

maio, 09 2023

By WWF-Brazil

Unanimously, the ministers of the Federal Supreme Court (STF, in Portuguese) confirmed on the 2nd of May the suspension of the “presumption of good faith” in the sale of gold in Brazil. The decision also determines the adoption, within 90 days, by the Federal Government, of a new normative framework for the inspection of this market, in addition to measures that make the acquisition of gold extracted from areas of environmental protection and Indigenous Lands unfeasible.

The Court's plenary decision endorses the injunction issued by Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes in April of this year and represents an important step towards controlling the activity, imposing efficient rules to guarantee transparency and control of the sale of gold in Brazil.

 A DPU (Defensoria Pública da União), o WWF-Brasil, o Instituto Alana e o Instituto Socioambiental eram parte desta ação como amicus curiae, e, em fevereiro deste ano, apresentaram ao STF dados inéditos que denunciavam indícios alarmantes de ilegalidade na produção de ouro nacional, com destaque para os impactos socioambientais e para a saúde das populações amazônicas.

The Federal Public Defender's Office (DPU, in Portuguese), WWF-Brazil, Alana Institute and Instituto Socioambiental were part of this action as amicus curiae, and, in February of this year, presented to the STF unpublished data that denounced alarming indications of illegality in the national production of gold, highlighting the socio-environmental impacts and the health of the Amazonian populations.

“The self-declaration of origin and the principle of good faith stimulated the proliferation of illegal gold extraction activities, because they did not foresee mechanisms for control and transparency of the origin of the traded ore. Likewise, they exempted buyers from responsibility for irregularities that occurred in the production process”, says Ariene Cerqueira, Public Policy Analyst at WWF-Brazil.

The STF decision is, therefore, an important step towards resuming control of the activity, especially in light of the disastrous results of illegal mining, as is the case of the serious health and social crisis that has been reported in recent months in the Yanomami Territory.

“With this decision, the Federal Supreme Court enforced the rights established by the Federal Constitution, including the right to health and the right to an ecologically balanced environment. The widespread illegality of the gold production chain and its consequent environmental impacts put the future of the Amazon and the peoples of the forest at risk,” comments Rafael Giovanelli, Public Policy Specialist at WWF-Brazil.

WWF-Brazil celebrates the Court's decision and makes itself available to support the debate with technical and scientific information that contribute to the improvement of inspection and control mechanisms of the gold trade in Brazil and add to the monitoring and reduction of its impacts on nature and on indigenous and traditional populations.
The Federal Supreme Court enforced the rights established by the Federal Constitution, including the right to health and the right to an ecologically balanced environment
© Diego Padgurschi