Conflict between Indians and miners in the Cinta Larga lands in Rondonia, Brazil


Since the 60s there are conflicts between the Cinta Larga Indians and groups of artisan miners interested in exploiting diamond deposits in their traditional lands, an area of more than 2.6 million hectares designated by the Brazilian State as TI Roosevelt. According to studies conducted by the Departamento Nacional de Producao Mineral - DNPM, this deposits has the capacity to produce at least one million carats of diamonds. Although the Brazilian Constitution considers mineral exploitation on indigenous lands as illegal, there are bills seeking to revise it and regulate mining in this lands. The Agencia Brasileira de Inteligencia - ABIN estimates that at least 10% of the full potential of the deposit has already been removed illegally over the last fifty years.

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Basic Data
NameConflict between Indians and miners in the Cinta Larga lands in Rondonia, Brazil
ProvinceRondonia e Mato Grosso
SiteEspigao do Oeste, Pimenta Bueno e Rondolandia
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesDiamonds

Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to studies conducted by the Departamento Nacional de Producao Mineral - DNPM, this deposits has the capacity to produce at least one million carats of diamonds.

Project Area (in hectares)2600000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1963
Company Names or State EnterprisesCompanhia de Mineracao do Estado de Rondonia (CMR) from Brazil
Relevant government actorsCentro Mineiro de Conservacao da Natureza, Agencia Brasileira de Inteligencia - ABIN, Departamento Nacional de Producao Mineral - DNPM, Companhia de Pesquisa e Recursos Minerais - CPRM, Instituto Nacional de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renovaveis - IBAMA, Ministerio de Minas e Energia - MME, Ministerio Publico Federal - MPF, Policia Federal - PF, Comissao Parlamentar de Direitos Humanos da Camara dos Deputados - CPDH/CD
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssociacao Paerena Indigena Ecologica de Protecao Ambiental, Associacao Indigena Pamare, Conselho do Povo Cinta Larga - CPCL, Coordenacao das Organizacoes Indigenas do Povo Cinta Larga - Patjamaaj, Coordenacao das Organizacoes Indigenas da Amazonia Brasileira (Coiab), Articulacao dos Povos Indigenas do Brasil (Apib), Plataforma DHESCA Brasil
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Threats to use arms
The Indians many times called for carrying on the exploration of the deposit themselves.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Infectious diseases, Deaths
Potential: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Land demarcation
New legislation
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the mining be considered illegal by the Brazilian State and most Cinta Larga have opted to suspend the diamond extraction on their lands. There are still groups that try to carry out mining in Indian territory.
Sources and Materials

BRASIL. Portaria FUNAI n 490, de 13/05/2008 - Constitui Grupo Tarefa, GT, com a finalidade de implementar, coordenar e executar as acoes e medidas necessarias a viabilizacao do Plano Emergencial para Protecao Territorial, Etnossustentabilidade e Apoio as
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TRINDADE, Reginaldo Pereira. Recomendacao 02/09/4 Ofcio/PR/RO do MPF para Funai. Ministerio Publico Federal em Rondonia, 07 jun. 2009. Disponivel em:
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Acesso em: 05 dez. 2009.

Acesso em: 05 dez. 2009.


MAPA DE CONFLITOS ENVOLVENDO INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. A terrvel historia dos Cinta Larga. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 24 jan. 2013.
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ARANDA, Ana. Garimpo de Roosevelt e uma bomba prestes a explodir, alerta MPF/RO. Amazonia da Gente, 20 ago. 2011. Disponivel em:
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CNPI apoia reivindicacoes do povo indigena Cinta Larga. Procuradoria Geral da Uniao, 01 out. 2009. Disponivel em:
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FONTES, Cristiane. Comissao Interamericana de Direitos Humanos realiza audiencia inedita com liderancas indigenas. Socioambiental, 21 fev. 2003. Disponivel em:
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INSTITUTO SOCIOAMBIENTAL. Os Cinta Larga, os diamantes e os conflitos: uma cronologia (1915-2004). Disponivel em:
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ZANCHETTA, Ines. Campanha em apoio aos indios Cinta-Larga faz alerta ao governo brasileiro e a entidades internacionais. Socioambiental, 24 out. 2003. Disponivel em:
[click to view]

Acesso em: 24 jan. 2013.

Acesso em: 05 dez. 2009.

Acesso em: 05 dez. 2009.

Acesso em: 05 dez. 2009.

Acesso em: 05 dez. 2009.

Media Links

You Tube video
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Other CommentsThe first contacts between the national population and the Cinta Larga Indians happened in the early 20th century, when rubber gatherers entered in their territory. The conflict intensified in 1963, when the first prospectors began to invade their lands to decimate the indigenous population. In this year, the miner Francisco de Brito and a group of gunmen raided a village Cinta Larga and used a helicopter and dynamite to massacre the Indians. This episode became known as the Massacre of Parallel Eleven. A new slaughter occurred in 1968, when ten Indians were killed after attacking miners who invaded their territory.
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ContributorDiogo Rocha
Last update08/04/2014