Elon Musk and the Amazon. What Does He Really Want?


Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, met on May 20 with President Jair Bolsonaro. The meeting between Bolsonaro and businessmen took place in the city of Porto Feliz, in the interior of São Paulo, in parallel with Conecta Amazônia, an event to discuss regulatory frameworks in the Amazon and connectivity in schools.


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The project in question, which involves Starlink, Musk’s company that operates low-orbit satellites in Brazil, plans to offer ultra-fast internet in regions where 5G is unlikely to reach due to the high cost of infrastructure.


Without giving details, the billionaire also mentions that he should use the technology of his aerospace transport startup for environmental monitoring of the Amazon.


The big question is, what else might have piqued Musk’s interest in the Amazon? The connectivity of low-income schools in one of Brazil’s poorest regions is certainly not high on the billionaire’s agenda.



Musk likely has other interests in the region, such as mining rare metals that would benefit Tesla, his electric car company.


The Amazon rainforest is rich in a range of metals such as aluminum, copper, gold, manganese, nickel, niobium, and tin. These are valuable metals actively sought after by mining companies, most of them based in Canada and the United States or financed by US corporations, such as Blackrock.


Musk’s company hopes to win the contract to make the service available in the Amazon rainforest as part of its expansion plans.


The Amazon is already suffering great damage thanks to illegal mining, in addition to the large fires that have been intensifying the loss of life in the region at a frightening rate.


Mining in the Munduruku indigenous land, in Pará, in May 2020. It is possible to see the devastation of vegetation and the formation of craters in the place. — Photo: Chico Batata/Greenpeace


Musk’s intentions are undeniably capitalist, seeing the Amazon solely as a source of wealth to be exploited, making use of a production model that does not take into account traditional populations, fauna and flora, and the environment.


Elon Musk does not seek to help the populations in the Amazon, but to benefit from them.

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