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Nickel Mine in Loma de Hierro, Venezuela

The nickel mine exploited by Anglo American was taken over by Venezuela in 2012. There are environmental liabilities.

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Since the decade of the 60s of last century, concessions were granted for the exploration and exploitation of nickel deposit contiguous to the cloudy jungle "Loma de Hierro" of the Interior Serranía del Country, in the Rural Parish Tiara, with a projection of 3.173 Inhabitants for 2015. Since 90, with changes in environmental regulations and mining and tax policies, economic pre-feasibility studies were concessioned to the coffeminas company, so that a mining nickel Loma C.A (MLDN) An Anglo-American subsidiary will begin the exploitation in 2001. The project was estimated at 30 years, with an approximate production of 40 million TM of ferronickel for export.

In the conflict, 3 stages are different: the first with the arguments of the company cofeminas on the basis of mineral servants' rights against the Agricultural Association "San Andrés" representatives of farmers des Hosted from the land where the nickel industrial complex was built. These demanded, first with protests, street actions and denunciations in the regional press and then legally before the agrarian courts; a) Rights as Pisatars of Land; b) compensation for wellécheurías; c) Relocation of families and construction of rural school. Of these demands, the one that was achieved was the payment for the Bienoechurías. Additionally, before the progress of the project in phase of the environmental impact study (EIA), Tiara communities that were not consulted or informed of the impacts of the project, received it negatively, since it would affect its ways of life and territory. For the tiars against the mining project, the cloudy jungle "Loma de Hierro", symbolically represents a "water box" "our own existence" without it "there will be no more tiara" we know that "the mining was drilling the mountain and in Any time is going to break the balance and the water will be lost. "

The second stage or technological intervention starting in 1997 with the construction of the complex, including a road ; the water dam; The adduction of gas and the electric sub-station, socio-environmental and cultural impacts intensified. Hundreds of tiars achieved a job in companies hired by MLDN. Dozens of homes were conditioned for the accommodation of foreign workers. Likewise, local commerce diversified. All this resulted in a change in lifestyle. In this context, an anti-mining movement is born that echoed through printed media, denouncing MLDN by air pollution, air, crops and respiratory and dermal diseases, in addition, from the deterioration of the main road. The movement was criminalized by the government, by the company and by some tiars who longed for a job in the mining. MLDN was defended arguing that "Tiara has always had nickel in her waters," "the laboratory and EIA analyzes demonstrate", and "we do not pollute the atmosphere since we comply with the measures and parameters demanded by environmental regulations" . In addition, "as evidence we develop a farm where vegetables and flowers are cultivated that do not suffer any alteration." The other demands by the Valentine of the Community Councils: Civil Works, Repair of the Way for Access and Maintenance of the Internal Routes, Maintenance of Schools and Ambulatory, Food Supplies and Hiring of Workers. For this, the strategies were trades aimed at the mining, the denunciation in the press and closures of the main road. For its part, the mining unions fought their contractual claims, paralyzing the operations and closing the access roads at various opportunities. Meanwhile, the State demanded the mining by not complying with the mining scope. This caused that in 2008 some concessions were rescinded, until in 2012 the Venezuelan State with the support of the mining union and the leaders of the communal councils affected by the Government took the administrative control of the project through the Venezuelan Mining Corporation (CVM).

In the third stage with the management of the CVM. On the one hand, while Anglo American claims compensation in the ICSID ("Court" of Arbitration at the World Bank), the uncertainty seized the mining workers since it was not exported by what was produced between 2012 and 2013. Generated collective actions: Assemblies and closures of the access route as pressure for the State to streamline the sale and guarantee work stability. Although the export of nickel and the State was finally ensured, the mining operations slowed down to be fully paralyzed, due to the lack of spare parts for equipment and some fundamental chemical elements for the process. On the other hand, the communities were unchanged in terms of the provision of health services, in the maintenance of school infrastructures and other compensation that were previously assumed by MLDN. In fact, the Local Health Committee supported by doctors and nurses with ambulatory closure protests and public complaints in the media, as strategies for the regional government (Corposalud) assuming their responsibilities. In this sociopolitical and economic context that the country lives, the communities are wondering about their future, what will happen when the nickel deposit is over and have to deal with socio-environmental liabilities left by exploitation? This has announced in the vote of the 11 communal councils of the parish, farmers and farmers, as well as in the educational advice they perform assemblies, and participatory workshops with two central themes based on two possible scenarios: 1) if reactivated mining operations; Find the way to empower knowledge with the help of third parties and collectively articulate to consider a balanced relationship with the CVM or with any other mining company, to be heard in violation of their rights and their local development plans and 2) The creation of platforms of struggle to different scales so that mining exploitation is definitely closing and the State contributes to taking measures in order to minimize socio-environmental liabilities.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nickel Mine in Loma de Hierro, Venezuela
State or province:Miranda and Aragua
Location of conflict:Municipality Santos Michelena State Aragua, Parish of Tiara
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Nickel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Minera Loma de Nicquel, C.A. It is the company in charge of the exploitation of the Ni-Beline Loma de Hierro, located between the Miranda and Aragua states. The deposit, account

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Project area:1,400
Level of Investment for the conflictive project600,000,000 USD.
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:3,173.
Start of the conflict:15/05/1997
Company names or state enterprises:Minera Loma de Níquel C.A (MLDN) from United Kingdom - Empresa a cargo d ela exlotación de Níquel en los yacimientos de Loma de Hierro en la Parroquia Rural Tiara estado Aragua venezuela
Corporación Venezolana de Minería S.A (División Níquel) (CVM )
Anglo American from United Kingdom - Participó en la explotación del níquel. En 2013 fue substituida.
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Popular Power for Oil and Mining. Ministry for Ecological Mining (2016) Ministry of Popular Power for Ecosocialism and Water Ministry of Popular Power for Health Venezuelan Mining Corporation (Nickel Division) Legislative National Assembly Regional Assembly Legislative Defender Communal Councils of Tiara Comuna de Tiara Rural Parish Tiara Mayor of Saints Michelena Aragua Governorate Governorate of Miranda Mayor De Guaicaipuro
International and Finance InstitutionsWorld Bank CIADI from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Health Committees (Tiara) Communal Councils
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Communal advice Educational advice Farmers Local environmental movement Local Health Committee Union of workers of the mining project
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Fires
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Potential: Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsUncertainties regarding the future of peasant communities Direct impact on the style or way of life peasant invisibility of the State in the provision of public services while administering private mining. Most of the businesses that were established in the crowds closed their doors when the government assumed exploitation. The relationship of employment indirectly with the miner disappeared once the private company sees its functions. The countervailing measures carried out by the mining "Nickel Loma" were stopped executing by the CVM.
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Institutional changes
Proposal and development of alternatives:Improve the relationship between Mining and Local Communities. Plans and opportunities for community sustainable development. Participatory mine closure plan. Strengthening, empowerment and training of communities for the development of livestock, aquaculture and small-scale agriculture Surveillance plan and monitoring of water sources. Reforestation of basin and springs. Participatory Environmental Management Plan Improve the health system, Education and Local Transportation Opportunities for peasant knowledge in the investigations and decision-making about its future Taking measures that tend to reduce the sociratural and technological risks associated with the mining project.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:If we start from current environmental regulations, it has been violated by the same State, since the exploitation is located in a protected area and adjoins a cloudy jungle whose polygonal is under antipephest zone decree. Since the distribution of the wealth generated in the project, communities are the least given socio-economic benefits, which is observed are more impoverished communities compared when the project did not exist. The affected peasant communities have not been recognized as fundamental actors in making decisions and management of mining, environment and territory. In addition to that they were not consulted or communicated to them regarding the future plans and projects of the mining, nor by their own possible development models that the communities have. So that we are in the presence of a case with very well defined characteristics of environmental injustice (systematic violation of environmental rights and violation of the rights of being: rights to be expressed, to participate in the matters that concern you, right to life, to health, employment, consultation and participation, recognition and distribution in the riches generated in their territories).
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Plan Simón Bolívar (2007-2013)
[click to view]

Reglamento General de la Ley de Minas (2001)
[click to view]

Ley Orgánica del ambiente (2006)
[click to view]

• Decreto N° 2165 Con Rango, Valor y Fuerza de Ley Organica que reserva al Estado las actividades de exploración y explotación del Oro y demás minerales estrategicos (2015)
[click to view]

Decreto N° 1395 Con Rango, Valor y Fuerza de Ley Organica que reserva al Estado las actividades de exploración y explotación del Oro asi como las conexas y auxiliares a ésta. (2014)
[click to view]

Plan de La Patria (2013-2019)
[click to view]

Ley de Minas (1999)
[click to view]

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

Características Foliares de los Arboles en una Selva Nublada Tropical del Ramal Interior de la Cordillera de La Costa, “Loma de Hierro” (Estado Aragua), Venezuela
[click to view]

Museo Geologico Virutl de Venezuela (Minerales de Venezuela: Níquel)
[click to view]

Legislación Minera en Venezuela: Marco legal (consideraciones historicas previas)
[click to view]

INCE Militar y Minera "Loma de Níquel" graduaron a 349 tecnicos medios
[click to view]

Red-ecoambiental Puerta de Aragua
[click to view]

Gobernación del Estado Miranda y las compensaciones de la Minera Loma de Níquel
[click to view]

Consejo Legislativo de Aragua y Minera Loma de Níquel articulan trabajo para desarrollo social
[click to view]

Gobierno venezolano asume actividades de explotación de níquel en Aragua y Miranda
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Mariela León, Gobierno asume control de Minera Loma de Níquel, El Universal, 13 noviembre 2012.
[click to view]

Alcalde de Las Tejerías exige a la minera la recuperación de la vialidad de Tiara
[click to view]

Habitantes de Tiara sufren de contaminación minera
[click to view]

Alcalde de Las tejerías denuncia que la Minera de Níquel debe cancelar los impuestos en el municipio Santos Michelena
[click to view]

Protestas en Minera Loma de Níquel
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update29/07/2016
Conflict ID:2339
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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