Volta Grande Mining Project, Pará, Brasil

Despite the damage caused by the Belo Monte Dam, the government of Pará approved a licence for the biggest gold mining project in the same region.


Volta Grande is expected to be the biggest gold mine in Brazil. It will be located in Senador José Porfírio municipality, State of Pará (one of the most important hot spots of the Amazon Biome). This is the same region where the Belo Monte Dam has caused big social and environmental impacts. Volta Grande project comprises an open-pit, a gold recovery process facility, water and tailings management and supporting infrastructure. Is expected to extract 150 tons of gold in 17 years.

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Basic Data
NameVolta Grande Mining Project, Pará, Brasil
SiteAltamira, Souzel, Anapu, Brasil Novo, Vitória do Xingu, Porto de Moz and Gurupá
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local 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
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesGold
Project Details and Actors
Project Details-Estimated capacity to produce 50 tonnes of gold in 12 years of operation.

-The project is expected to generate 2,100 direct jobs in the deployment phase, and 526 in the operational phase.

-Over the 12 years, the company must pay more than R $ 60 million in mining royalties to the state - almost R $ 5 million per year. The amount paid in taxes should be even higher: about R $ 130 million for the country, state and municipality during the installation period, and then R $ 55 million per year. (100 R$ is around 30 US$ in March 2017)

-The project also provides for the construction of a tailings dam.
Project Area (in hectares)1400
Level of Investment (in USD)380.077.000,00
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationaround 5000
Start Date2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesBelo Sun Mining Corporation from Canada - Owner
Belo Sun Mineração Ltda from Brazil - Subsidiary
Relevant government actorsSecretaria de Meio Ambiente e Sustentabilidade do Pará (Semas); Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama);Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral (DNPM);Conselho Estadual de Meio Ambiente (Coema); Ministério Público Federal (MPF);
International and Financial InstitutionsForbes & Manhattan Inc from Canada - owner of Belo Sun Mining Co.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEJos: Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB);Instituto Socioambiental (ISA);

Supporters: State of Pará Ombudsman (Defensor Publico), National Council of Human Rights; Amazon Watch;International Rivers.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Objections to the EIA claiming the accumulative impacts of the project adding the Belo Monte dam
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Mine tailing spills, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Potential: Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
OtherThe EIA has identified archaeological findings in significant quantities.
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesTo continue with the traditional activities such as fishing, agriculture.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Despite that the Federal Judge in Altamira suspended Belo Sun’s environmental licensing process, the company focuses on continuing with the exploration phase.
Sources and Materials

ILO 169: Indigenous and tribal peoples
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Brasil De Fato, 12 motivos para barrar a instalação de Belo Sun no rio Xingu
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Governo concede licença para Belo Sun extrair ouro na região do Xingu
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Defensoria do Pará pede a suspensão da licença ambiental de Belo Sun
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Belo Sun recebe Licença de Instalação e irá operar maior mina de ouro do país
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Projeto para exploração de ouro em Senador José Porfírio gera polêmica
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Canadian Mining Project Seeks License Despite Environmental Irregularities
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Media Links

Public Sign-on Letter: Belo Sun No!
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Other Documents

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Public Letter Against Belo Sun
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Belo Sun
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Location of the project
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Meta Information
ContributorEnvJustice Project (G.N.O)
Last update03/04/2017