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Iron ore mining in Nova Lima, MG, Brazil

Movements fight for the preservation of the environment and the public water supply sources in the urban region of Minas Gerais, where Vale operates and expands iron ore mines.


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
Name of conflict:Iron ore mining in Nova Lima, MG, Brazil
State or province:Minas Gerais
Location of conflict:Belo 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 details

The mine has a reserve of 173 million tons of iron ore, with 22 year operating forecast.

Project area:24
Level of Investment for the conflictive project100,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:2003
Company names or state enterprises:Mineracoes Brazileiras Reunidas (MBR) from Brazil
Vale (Vale) from Brazil - formerly named Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
Relevant government actors:Fundacao 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 organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Movimento Capao Xavier Vivo
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-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-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] MAPA DE CONFLITOS ENVOLVENDO INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. Moradores de Belo Horizonte e Nova Lima lutam contra a Mina de Capao Xavier
[click to view]

[2] Lazarim, H., Loureiro, C. O. Rebaixamento das águas subterrâneas na região em torno da jazida de Capão Xavier, Nova Lima- MG, 2000 Cenário futuro. Capão Xavier, Belo Horizonte.
[click to view]

[3] Welter, I.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), Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, 2008.
[click to view]

[4] 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, 2003.
[click to view]

[5] Ação Civil Pública com pedidos de tutela de urgência cumulada com improbidade administrativa. Capão Xavier , Belo Horizonte, 2004
[click to view]

[6] Capão Xavier Vivo. Nota Do Movimento Capão Xavier Vivo: à Imprensa e à sociedade. Belo Horizonte, 07 de março de 2007.
[click to view]

[7] ALMG. Comissões questionam novo licenciamento para mina Capão Xavier. 26/04/2011
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Movimento Capão Xavier Vivo performs protest
[click to view]

Capão Xavier mine, MBR, in Nova Lima

materias jornal capao/mina1p.jpg
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Diogo Rocha
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:233
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