Corumba indigenous communities and mining, Brazil


The region of Corumba and Ladario, located in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul, has the third largest reserve of iron ore in Brazil. The main iron ore mine of the region is the Morro do Urucum. It is estimated that the mountain contains 30 billion tons of jaspilite and 890 million tons of colluvial soil. The jaspilite has an average of 54% of iron content, while the colluvial soil has in its composition 63% metal, being considered of excellent quality by mining companies. In addition to mining, pig iron companies has been installed in the region, fuelled by charcoal produced from wood native to the region, in some cases through illegal logging and deforestation carried out within the lands of the Kadiwéu indigenous people. Indigenous lands, although recognized, are in dispute and are occupied by farmers and ranchers. Many ranchers allow the charcoal producers to access the woods in exchange for opening of pastures and commissions of around 5% of the value of the charcoal.

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Basic Data
NameCorumba indigenous communities and mining, Brazil
ProvinceMato Grosso do Sul
SiteCorumba e Ladario
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
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesCement
Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to a report of the UFRJ, the companies operating in an integrated manner, organized as follows: Corumba Mineracao Ltda (COMIN), iron mining company linked to Vetiral Steel Group, extracts about 432,000 tons/year of iron ore, a significant part of the extracted ore is sent to the iron pig plant of Ribas do Rio Pardo; Mineracao e Metalicos do Brasil Ltda (MMX) has the potential to extract from 2.6 million tons/year of iron ore. In 2007, went into operation a steel unit, with a capacity of 375,000 t/year of pig iron and 400,000 tons/year of laminates; Mineracao Piramide Participacioes (MPP)has a experimental mine, announced production of 180,000 tons/year, reaching 1,440,000 tons/year; Mineracao Corumbaense Reunida (MCR)- company of the multinational Rio Tinto of Brazil (RTB), with production of 3 million tons/year, but with the consent of the IBAMA to explore up to 6 million tons/year. Its production is currently destined exclusively for the foreign market; Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Vale) involves mining, with control of the Urucum Mineracao (UMSA), which produces a total of 1,571,000 t/year of iron ore, with license for up to 2,350,000 tons/year; manganese ore production of 552,000 metric tons per year, reaching 750,000 tons/year and, metallurgy workshop, with production of ferro-alloys based on manganese between 18,000 and 22,000 tons/year, with the Rio Doce Mineracao (RDM); Companhia Cimento Portland Itau, has a system that integrates a mine to a cement plant of Grupo Votorantim Cimentos, with limestone production of 550,000 tons/year and cement factory, 330,000 tons/year of clinker and 380.0000 t/yr of cement.

All companies export the final product, whether in the form of iron ore, manganese, pig iron, hot-rolled, alloy, clinker or cement.
Project Area (in hectares)118000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2000
Company Names or State EnterprisesMineracao e Metalicos do Brazil Ltda (MMX) from Brazil
Corumba Mineracao Ltda (COMIN) from Brazil
Mineracao Piramide Participacioes (MPP) from Brazil
Mineracao Corumbaense Reunida (MCR) from Brazil
Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto ) from Australia
Vale (Vale) from Brazil - formerly named Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
Urucum Mineracao (UMSA) from Brazil
Rio Doce Mineracao (RDM) from Brazil
Companhia Cimento Portland Itau from Brazil
Grupo Votorantim Cimentos from Brazil
Relevant government actorsInstituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renovaveis - IBAMA, Polícia Federal , Ministerio Publico do Trabalho , Departamento Nacional de Producao Mineral
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssociacao Civil Ecologia e Acao (ECOA), Rede Brasileira de Justica Ambiental (RBJA)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Referendum other local consultations
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the decrease in the rate of extraction and industrial production in recent years, the industry continues generating impacts on communities and ecosystems with some interventions of the State.
Sources and Materials

Acesso em: 07 ago. 2013.
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Acesso em: 07 ago. 2013.
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LA ROVERE, Emílio Lébre (Coord). Avaliacao Ambiental Estrategica do Polo Minero-Industrial de Corumba e influencias sobre a Planicie Pantaneira - PPE 9134 - Relatorio Executivo. Laboratorio Interdisciplinar de Meio Ambiente, Coordenacao dos Programas de Pos-Graduacao em Engenharia (COPPE), Universidade do Brasil (UFRJ), ago. 2008. 56 p.

MAPA DE CONFLITOS ENVOLVENDO INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. Carvao para Siderurgia e Mineracao ameaça terras indigenas, aguas, cerrado e matas do Pantanal.


BARROS, Bettina. IBAMA multa MMX por uso de carvao de origem ilegal. Valor Economico, 08 fev. 2008. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 27 out. 2008.
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FERREIRA, Marta. IBAMA fecha carvoaria em terra indigena no Pantanal. Campo Grande News. 29 nov. 2007. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 10 set. 2008.
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GUTIERREZ, Marcelle. MMX suspende producao de minerio de ferro em Corumba. Exame, 04 jul. 2013. Disponível em: Acesso em: 07 ago. 2013.
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OLIVEIRA, Mariza Pontes. IBAMA avalia danos ambientais ao Macico do Urucum pelos impactos da mineracao e de outras intervencoes industriais e agropecuarias na regiao. Ecodebate, 07 fev. 2009. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 07 ago. 2013.
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Media Links

ço do urucum.jpg
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Iron ore extraction in Urucum, Corumba

Aerial view of the Macico do Urucum

Charcoal production in the Pantanal, in the region of Corumba

IBAMA monitors illegal extraction of wood in farms occupying the lands of the indigenous people Kadiwéu

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Meta Information
ContributorDiogo Rocha
Last update15/02/2019