Mined Amazon: Brazilian agency is allowing extractive activities within protected areas

Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: Brazil

Organisation: Infoamazonia, ICFJ, The Intercept Brasil

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 21/11/2019

Credit: Hyury Potter, Rodrigo Brabo, Juliana Mori, Gustavo Faleiros and Amara Aguilar.

Project description:

Mined Amazon is a data project sponsored by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and published by Infoamazonia. The real-time map shows illegal mining requests within protected areas of the Amazon.

Every day, Mined Amazon bot cross-check data from the National Mining Agency of Brazil and ICMBio, the Brazilian national parks service, and then tweet on @amazonia_minada when a new request is made by a big mining company.

Until 21st November of 2019, the Mined Amazon database has founded 441 records os illegal mining applications within 31 protected areas in the Amazon.  

Impact reached:

The Intercept Brazil published a history using the Mined Amazon database. The report tells who are the owners of these illegal mining requests: big companies, offshores, public employees and politicians want to explore the Amazon soil.  

Two weeks after we publish our history, Brazilian prosecutors filed a lawsuit condemning the severity of illegal mining within protected areas and on indigenous lands in the Amazon.


Techniques/technologies used:

We use mining requests data in GeoJSON and cross-check with the integral protected areas of the Amazon. The results are shown in a real-time map. And we created a Twitter bot to inform in Portuguese and English new illegal mining requests. 

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part of the Mined Amazon project was to find a way to monitor real-time mining records in protected areas of the Amazon. Our bot analyzes more than 50,000 records daily and shows about 500 that are effectively illegal under Brazilian environmental law.

The Twitter Profile @amazonia_minada is the way we found to simplify the data obtained and to inform the population and journalists daily about new illegal mining requests.

What can others learn from this project?

With Mined Amazon, citizens, researchers and journalists can daily track illegal mining records and charge Brazilian authorities to cancel these records.

Mined Amazon on Github: https://github.com/InfoAmazonia/amazonia-minada

Mined Amazon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amazonia_minada

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