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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
Name of conflict:Volta Grande Mining Project, Pará, Brasil
State or province:Pará
Location of conflict:Altamira, 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 commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

-Estimated capacity to produce 50 tonnes of gold in 12 years of operation.

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Project area:1400
Level of Investment for the conflictive project380.077.000,00
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:around 5000
Start of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:Belo Sun Mining Corporation from Canada - Owner
Belo Sun Mineração Ltda from Brazil - Subsidiary
Relevant government actors:Secretaria 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 Finance InstitutionsForbes & Manhattan Inc from Canada - owner of Belo Sun Mining Co.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:EJos: 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.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal 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 mobilization:Development 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-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Potential: Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsThe EIA has identified archaeological findings in significant quantities.
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:To continue with the traditional activities such as fishing, agriculture.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Despite that the Federal Judge in Altamira suspended Belo Sun’s environmental licensing process, the company focuses on continuing with the exploration phase.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[click to view]

ILO 169: Indigenous and tribal peoples
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[click to view]

Belo Sun recebe Licença de Instalação e irá operar maior mina de ouro do país
[click to view]

Defensoria do Pará pede a suspensão da licença ambiental de Belo Sun
[click to view]

Canadian Mining Project Seeks License Despite Environmental Irregularities
[click to view]

Projeto para exploração de ouro em Senador José Porfírio gera polêmica
[click to view]

Governo concede licença para Belo Sun extrair ouro na região do Xingu
[click to view]

Brasil De Fato, 12 motivos para barrar a instalação de Belo Sun no rio Xingu
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Public Sign-on Letter: Belo Sun No!
[click to view]

Other documents

[click to view]

Public Letter Against Belo Sun
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice Project (G.N.O)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2747
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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