Special Seminar on Ecology, Mining & Sustainable Development

Organized by the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC), the Brazilian Mining Association (IBRAM), the Brazilian Speleological Society (SBE) and the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC) 

Venue: Brazilian Academy of Sciences Headquarters, Rio de Janeiro
Date: 18 - 19 November 2015

Caves are important for their geological history and the inhabiting fauna. The mining sector contributes to 5% of the Brazilian National Gross Income and employs over 1,170,000 people. Although highly desirable, at times these objectives are in conflict. The exploration of mineral reserves in Brazil is currently restricted by the existence of speleological formations generating serious impacts on the mining sector with economic and social implications. An equitable approach that enables the preservation of caves and its fauna and support a vigorous mining activity must be achieved. Remarkably, the mining sector has contributed to a revitalization of speleology and is responsible to the vast majority of new caves being described. Caves are characterized by geological and biospeleological criteria. Any void with over 5 meters of extension is included in the studies, notwithstanding of lithology. Those considered as of Maximum Relevance, must be protected. Caves of High Relevance may be removed if two other caves of High Relevance are permanently protected. Caves of Medium Relevance may also generate compensatory measures. Finally a buffer zone needs to be implemented around preserved caves. Most of the studies regard caves as of Maximum of High Relevance due to the large number of criteria used, given that the presence of one criterion is sufficient to declare a cave highly relevant. As an example in 2008 over 1,000 caves were explored and by 2013 only 30 were set for removal. In addition, identifying caves for compensation has proven extremely difficult.

The necessary studies to determine the level of relevance of caves are long (1-1.5 years), costly and especially limited in several aspects. One of the main limitations derives from the very high number of caves (over 7,000 caves are listed in the national database). The small number of specialist taxonomists is another limitation for the analysis of tens of thousands of specimens collected using classical taxonomy, especially in biological diversity rich regions. Lastly, the legislation is at times subjective and open to interpretation. This seminar aims to bring together industry partners, government agents and academics, to discuss possible solutions to these limitations and help design sustainable mining practices.


November 18

9h - 9h30: Opening Ceremony 
• João Fernando Gomes de Oliveira, Vice-President of the ABC
• Claudia M. d'Avila-Levy, General Secretary of the SBPC
• José Fernando Coura, President of the IBRAM

9h30 - 12h30: Keynote Presentations
Keynote 1: The Natural Resources and Development : The economic importance of mining in Brazil 
• João Furtado (USP e Elabora Consultoria)
Keynote 2: Biodiversity and minding one's own business
• Thomas Lewinsohn (UNICAMP)
Keynote 3: Impacts of Mining Operations: Assessment, scientific foundations, risks and grand challenges
• Luiz Enrique Sanchez (USP)
Keynote 4: Mining, Conservation and Development: A strategic view for business and for government
• José Fernando Coura (IBRAM)

14h - 18h  
Panel 1: Mining and Biological Conservation
• Convener to be confirmed
Lecture 1: Mining and biological conservation in Australia
• Mark Harvey (Western Australia Museum)
Lecture 2: Offsetting the impact of mining to achieve no net loss of biodiversity
• Laura J. Sonter (University Queensland - Australia)
Lecture 3: Looking for synergy of mining and conservation: The case of Carajás mosaic
• speaker to be confirmed
Lecture 4 :Mining and Speleological Conservation : A view of the Brazilian Speleological Community
• Clayton Lino (RBMA)
Lecture 5: Has the private sector contributed to build knowledge and competence about the environment ?
• speaker to be confirmed
Discussion / Report

 November 19

9h - 12h
Panel 2: Environmental Constraints to Mining Operations
• Convener - Rinaldo Mancin (IBRAM)
Lecture 1: Are caves a legal constraint to environmental licensing for mining in Brazil ?
• Jonatas Souza Trindade (IBAMA)
Lecture 2: Major gaps in the current legislation for caves conservation
• Ricardo Carneiro
Lecture 3: How other countries have dealt with legal constraints: The case of caves in Australia
• Bridget Hyder (EPA, Australia)
Lecture 4: Needed /Necessary adaptations of the Brazilian legislation for cave preservation
• Marcio Silva Pereira 
Discussion / Report

13h30 - 16h30 
Panel 3: A Science-Mediated Debate About Cave Preservation versus Mining Sustainability
• Convener - Rosa Lemos de Sá (FUNBIO)
Lecture 1: Caves and Mining: The dilemma of cave preservation within a mining context
• Augusto Auler (Carste - Ciência e Meio Ambiente)
Lecture 2: Ecological relevance of caves : Is it scientifically sound ?
• Maria Elina Bichuette (UFSCar)
Lecture 3: Ecology and taxonomy of troglobites: needs and challenges
• Antonio Domingos Brescovit (Instituto Butantã)
Lecture 4: Looking for a scientifically-based consensus view for cave preservation
• speaker to be confirmed
Discussion / Report

16h30: Concluding Section
Coordinated by IBRAM
• Brief Reports from each section by conveners
• General discussion concerning main issues of ecological constraints for mining industry
• Recommendations to industry, government and academia 

Additional information :
Fernando Verissimo
Seminar's executive secretary

For accommodation, we recomend the Savoy Othon Hotel Copacabana

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