Brazil: Vale Onca Puma mining operations accused of harms to indigenous peoples' rights, water contamination & environment

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Article
20 September 2019

Brazil: Federal court allows Vale to reopen Nickel operations at Onca Puma

Author: Vale

"Vale informs on Onça Puma", 12 September 2019

Vale hereby informs that today, the President of Supreme Federal Court (STF) decided to suspend the injunctions and to grant the return of Vale's nickel operations (mine and plant), Onça Puma, in Ourilândia do Norte (state of Pará). With this decision, the operation, which had its mines paralyzed since September 2017, and its nickel processing plant since June this year, will resume its activities. The STF also ordered the release of judicial deposits for the indigenous Xikrin do Cateté and Kayapo, which were blocked by a decision of Federal Regional Court (Tribunal Regional Federal da 1ª Região) in a legal proceeding imposed by Vale.

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Article
4 September 2019

In Brazil, indigenous groups clash with mining companies in 400 areas

The remote indigenous land Xikrin do Rio Cateté is located 1,000 kilometers from Belém, the capital city of the Amazonian state of Pará. Inhabited by 1,056 people of the Kayapó indigenous ethnic group, the reserve spreads over roughly 439,000 hectares in the cities of Água Azul do Norte, Marabá, and Parauapebas. Xikrin do Rio Cateté is also home to hidden and valuable mineral reserves—highly coveted both by big mining companies and illegal prospectors. Brazilian mining giant Vale has a concession to extract copper, gold, and manganese in the region, which puts the company constantly at odds with indigenous groups. In 2015, a professor at the University of Pará measured the presence of heavy metals in the waters of the Cateté River, finding levels of contamination 30 times higher than the limits established by environmental agencies. These findings corroborate accounts by local indigenous people—who have reported cases of skin and eye problems, as well as a decrease in fish stocks, ever since a Vale subsidiary started extracting nickel there in 2010.

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Article
23 August 2019

Brazil: Vale Onca Puma mining operations accused of harms to indigenous peoples' rights, water contamination & environment

Author: Environmental Justice Atlas

In 2003, the Canadian mining company Canico Resource Corp., through its subsidiary Mineradora Onça Puma S.A., obtained the authorization to explore nickel reserves in the mountain range Serra da Onça... In the same year, the company requested to the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) the appropriation of an area ... belonging to rural settlements Campos Altos and Tucum... one of the conditions for [Onca Puma] was an evaluation of Funai (the National Indigenous Foundation) about the influence of Onça Puma on the indigenous population and the approval of an environmental impact mitigation plan to be initiated... In November 2005, Vale filed the final report of the Xikrin do Cateté ethnoecological study, but Funai delivered its evaluation only five years later, when Onça Puma was already in operation... [T]he Federal Public Ministry filed a Public Civil Action... [ordered Vale] to stop operations and to pay the due compensation... In 2015, indigenous associations asked [the Federal University of Pará (UFPA)] to monitor the quality of the river. [UFPA] measured the presence of heavy metals in water, reaching levels above those recommended by the National Environment Council (Conama)...the Federal Court ordered the interruption of mining activities in Onça Puma several times, as well as the payment of 300 thousand dollars per month for each indigenous community affected by the operations... Vale has maintained nickel processing by claiming that the interruption order was only related to mining... Onça Puma is still in operation due to injunctions obtained by [Vale].

 

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Company response
22 August 2019

Vale response

Author: Vale

Vale will address below the issues brought up in three cases in the Business and Human Rights Resource Center website on Indonesia, New Caledonia and Onça Puma, Brazil.

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