Capão Xavier mine, Brazil


Since 2003, the residents of the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte are fighting against the impacts of iron mining in the vicinity of the Parque Estadual Serra do Rola Moca. Mineral extraction threatens the quality of drinking water supply.

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Basic Data
NameCapão Xavier mine, Brazil
ProvinceMinas Gerais
SiteBelo Horizonte e Nova Lima
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Specific Commodities
Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe mine has a reserve of 173 million tons of iron ore, with 22 year operating forecast.

Project Area (in hectares)24
Level of Investment (in USD)100000000
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date2003
Company Names or State EnterprisesMineracoes Brazileiras Reunidas (MBR) from Brazil
Vale S.A. (Vale) from Brazil - formerly named Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
Relevant government actorsFundacao Estadual de Meio Ambiente , Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentavel de Minas Gerais , Conselho de Política Ambiental de Minas Gerais , Ministerio Publico do Estado de Minas Gerais , Assembleia Legislativa do Estado de Minas Gerais
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersMovimento Capao Xavier Vivo
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The mine is still in operation, their environmental impacts have not been mitigated and the social movement remains mobilised in the struggle for the rights of the population.
Sources and Materials

MAPA DE CONFLITOS ENVOLVENDO INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. Moradores de Belo Horizonte e Nova Lima lutam contra a Mina de Capao Xavier. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 10 ago. 2013.
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LAZARIM, Helio A e LOUREIRO, Celso de O. Rebaixamento das águas subterrâneas na região em torno da jazida de Capão Xavier, Nova Lima- MG: Cenário futuro. Capão Xavier , Belo Horizonte. Disponível em: Acesso em: 07 fev. 2011.
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WELTER, Isabela G. 'O Conflito por agua em Belo Horizonte: O Caso da Mina de Capao Xavier'. 2008. 72 f. Trabalho de Conclusao de Curso (Bacharelado em Ciencias Sociais). Departamento de Sociologia e Antropologia, Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciencias Humanas Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte, 2008.


MINISTÉRIO PÚBLICO DO ESTADO DE MINAS GERAIS. Ministério Público recomenda ao COPAM que não conceda licença para exploração da Mina de Capão Xavier, em Nova Lima. Capão Xavier , Belo Horizonte. Disponível em: Acesso em: 08 fev. 2011.
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Ação Civil Pública com pedidos de tutela de urgência cumulada com improbidade administrativa. Capão Xavier , Belo Horizonte. Disponível em: Acesso em: 08 fev. 2011.
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Media Links

materias jornal capao/mina1p.jpg
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Movimento Capão Xavier Vivo performs protest
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Capão Xavier mine, MBR, in Nova Lima

Meta Information
ContributorDiogo Rocha
Last update08/04/2014