Onca Puma nickel mining project in Ourilandia do Norte, Para, Brazil


In 2003, Canico do Brasil Mineracao Ltda, by its subsidiary Mineradora Onca Puma (MOP) obtained a license granted by the Departamento Nacional de Producao Mineral (DNPM) for nickel mining in the locality known as Serra da Onca in Ourilandia do Norte. In the same year, the company applied to the Superintendencia of Instituto Nacional de Colonizacao e Reforma Agraria (INCRA) the appropriation of an area of 7,404 .76 acres belonging to rural settlements Campos Altos and Tucum. These settlements existed for over 10 years.

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Basic Data
NameOnca Puma nickel mining project in Ourilandia do Norte, Para, Brazil
SiteOurilandia do Norte
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
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesNickel
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe mine is expected to extract 220 thousand tons of ferronickel per year. This should generate about 50 thousand tons of nickel per year.

About 95% of production is destined for export. The main countries buyers are: China, Japan, Germany, Finland, Italy and United States.
Project Area (in hectares)7000
Level of Investment (in USD)2600000000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2003
Company Names or State EnterprisesMineracao Onca Puma (MOP) from Brazil
Vale (Vale) from Brazil - formerly named Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Brazil)
Relevant government actorsDepartamento Nacional de Producao Mineral - DNPM, Fundao Nacional do Indio - FUNAI, Instituto Nacional de Colonizacao e Reforma Agraria - INCRA, Ministerio Publico Federal - MPF, Secretaria de Meio Ambiente do Para - SEMA
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssociacao de Pequenos Produtores Rurais da Colonia de Bom Jesus, Associacao de Pequenos Produtores Rurais da Colonia de Campos Altos, Associacao de Lavradores Rurais da Colonia Santa Rita, Centro de Educacao, Pesquisa e Assessoria Sindical e Popular - CPASP, Comissao Pastoral da Terra - CPT, Movimento de Pequenos Agricultores - MPA, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra - MST, Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Educacao Publica do Para - SINTEPP/Ourilandia do Norte
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Trade unions
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Infectious diseases
Potential: Accidents, Malnutrition, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The company continues to extract nickel in Onca Puma, many farming families were not compensated until today and the federal prosecutors have not yet succeeded in his defense of indigenous rights.
Sources and Materials

RAUPP, Andre Casagrande. AAO CIVIL PUBLICA com pedido de antecipacao dos efeitos da tutela em face de Vale S.A, Mineracao Ona Puma, Estado do Para e FUNAI. Ministerio Publico Federal, 02 mai. 2011. Disponivel em:
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[click to view]

Acesso em: 14 jan. 2013.

Acesso em: 14 jan. 2013.

Acesso em: 14 jan. 2013.

MAPA DE CONFLITOS ENVOLVENDO INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. Mineracao de niquel expulsa pequenos trabalhadores rurais e povos indigenas no Sudeste do Para. Disponivel em:
[click to view]

RIBEIRO JUNIOR, Ribamar. A Expansao da mineracao: Problemas e desafios para os assentados na riqueza em Ourilandia do Norte PA. In: CONGRESO LATINOAMERICANO DE SOCIOLOGIA RURAL, 8, 15 a 19. nov. 2010, Porto de Galinhas. Anais. Porto de Galinhas: ALASRU, 2010. 20 p. Disponivel em:


BORGES, Andre. MPF quer interromper extracao de niquel pela Vale no PA. Valor Economico, 28 mai. 2012. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 14 jan. 2013.
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TRABALHADORES bloqueiam estrada de acesso a projeto de mineracao da Vale. Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra, 23 set. 2008. Disponivel em: Acesso em: 14 jan. 2013.
[click to view]

Acesso em: 14 jan. 2013.

Acesso em: 14 jan. 2013.

ALMEIDA, Rogerio. Carajas interesses da Vale pressionam territorios de camponeses e indigenas. Forum Carajas, 21 jul. 2010. Disponivel em:
[click to view]

ARAUJO, Otvio. Ourilandia: Colonos fecham estrada que da acesso a Vale. Real Online, 05 out. 2011. Disponivel em:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorDiogo Rocha
Last update08/04/2014