Brazil, France partner to tackle illegal mining in French Guiana

27th February 2024 By: Reuters

BRASILIA - Brazil and France are set to sign an international cooperation agreement that would allow police from both countries to launch joint operations aimed at tackling illegal mining in French Guiana, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The countries have expressed concern about increased wildcat mining activities and environmental crimes near the border between Brazil's northern state of Amapa and French Guiana, an overseas administrative region of France, where the Oiapoque river is located.

The deal is expected to be signed when French President Emmanuel Macron visits his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brasilia in late March, according to three of the sources.

The agreement would allow Brazil and France to launch joint operations, train police officers and share results obtained from the analysis of the composition of illegal gold extracted in both countries, according to Brazilian sources.

The deal expands a similar one signed by Lula and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, during the Brazilian leader's first stint as president.

"The French expressed their intention to deepen ties with Brazil," a source at Brazil's Justice Ministry said, adding that the new agreement would be more focused on operations than the previous one.

Brazil's Justice Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did the French embassy in Brasilia.