Claiming against “black powder” at Tubarão Port in Vitória, Brazil

A combination of iron ore and others pollutants in the air around the Tubarão Port is affecting local population. Vale, Arcellor Mital and Samarco are the companies responsible for the emissions


The Tubarão Port is the largest iron ore export terminal in the world. It is located in Victoria, the capital of the State of Espírito Santo in Brazil. Since 2009 people in the neighborhoods noticed "black powder" in their environment and especially inside their homes. This "Black powder" is a combination of iron ore and others pollutants present in the air because of the activity of the Tubarão Port. In February 2015, the local legislature set up a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (PCI) to find out the responsibility, and they concluded that Vale, Arcellor Mital and Samarco are the companies responsible for this emissions.

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Basic Data
NameClaiming against “black powder” at Tubarão Port in Vitória, Brazil
ProvinceEspírito Santo
SiteGrande Vitória (Cariacica, Fundão, Guarapari, Serra, Viana, Vila Velha e Vitória)
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesIron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsTubarão Port is one of the most important iron ore terminals in the world. In 2015 Its docks loaded 82.5 million tons of iron ore destined for steelmakers around the world.

Tubarão Port also handles coal imports and steel exports for the Brazilian unit of ArcelorMittal SA (France), the world's largest steelmaker.

Relating to the pollution, Vale said in a statement that it has spent Us. $193 million between 2007 and 2014 improving environmental control systems at the port an amount that will rise, but it seems if not enough to stop pollution and damage neighbors´ health.
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected PopulationDirect and indirect: 327 000
Start Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesSamarco from Brazil
Acellor Mittal from France
Vale (Vale) from Brazil
Relevant government actorsAssembleia Legislativa do Espírito Santo (Ales); Instituto Estadual de Meio Ambiente (LEMA); Instituto Estadual de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Hídricos (IEMA);
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssociação Juntos SOS ES Ambiental.

Supporters: Technology Center of the Federal University of the State (UFES);
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingInformal workers
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts, Air pollution, Soil contamination
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
OtherImpact in domestic animals
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
OtherRespiratory infections and cardiovascular diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Other socio-economic impacts, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement
OtherSpecific impact on children, elderly and pregnant women. According to WHO, they are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of pollution.
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseInstitutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of Alternativesnone identified.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.In the past, the court has ordered to paralyzed imports and exports of metals such as iron because of the high levels of pollution. But these temporary actions remain insufficient.
Sources and Materials

Air pollution and its impacts on health in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brazil
[click to view]


Poluição por pó preto volta a ultrapassar os limites em Vitória
[click to view]

Moradores reclamam da poluição causada pelo pó preto em Vitória
[click to view]

Três empresas são responsáveis por emissão de pó preto no ES, diz CPI
[click to view]

Vale: After de mud, the black powder
[click to view]

ES: ato contra poluição chama Vitória de capital do pó preto
[click to view]

ArcelorMittal nega poluir com pó preto
[click to view]

Brazil court orders closure of Vale's Tubarão iron ore port
[click to view]

Media Links

Juntos -SOS-ES Ambiental , facebook campaing
[click to view]

Medição do pó preto no ar da Grande Vitória não é feita há cinco meses
[click to view]

Other Documents

Manifestation against Pollution
[click to view]

Activist in the Assembly
[click to view]

Activist in a Manifestation
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorENVJustice Project (G.N)
Last update01/02/2019