Brazil court suspends decree allowing Amazon reserve mining

Brasília (AFP) –


A Brazilian court on Wednesday suspended a controversial decree that would open up a huge natural reserve in the Amazon rainforest to commercial mining.

The federal court in the capital Brasilia said in a statement it had "partially granted an injunction to immediately suspend any administrative act" aimed at scrapping the Denmark-sized reserve, known as Renca.

The order signed by Judge Rolando Spanholo "suspends possible administrative acts based on the decree" signed by President Michel Temer.

The decision follows an outcry from environmental activists, celebrities and the Catholic Church in Brazil, among others.

The Renca reserve in the eastern Amazon is home to indigenous tribes and vast swaths of untouched forest, covering more than 17,800 square miles (46,000 square kilometers).

Temer says that opening up the gold and mineral-rich area to mining is part of his program to boost Brazil's weak economy. The government insists that vital areas within the reserve, including where indigenous people live, will remain off limits.