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23 Aug 2019

Environmental Justice Atlas

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

See all tags Allegations

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].