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Mining project Caçapava do Sul, Rio Camaquã, RGS, Brazil

This project has found strong local opposition in 2017, against the wishes by Votorantim to explore for several minerals including zinc, copper, lead.


Although there has been copper mining in the region for about twenty years (1), recently, Votorantim Metais Holding (now Nexa Resources) filed an EIA - RIMA (Environmental Impact Study and Report) in Fepam - RS and realized public hearings to present the project to the population. According to the EIA (dated from 2016), the company has been conducting research on the local since 2008 and has confirmed the economic viability of the extraction of metals. According to the website, this project includes an intention to explore zinc, copper, lead as well as gold and gold as products.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mining project Caçapava do Sul, Rio Camaquã, RGS, Brazil
State or province:Rio Grande do Sul
Location of conflict:Caçapava do Sul, Santana da Boa Vista, Bagé, Rio Grande and 26 more municipalities.
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
Specific commodities:Silver
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In a more recent period, in the middle of 2016, Votorantim Metais Holding filed an EIA - RIMA (Study and Environmental Impact Report) at Fepam - RS and held two public hearings to present the project to the population. According to the EIA of the venture (2016) the company has been conducting research on the site since 2008 and would have confirmed the economic viability of the extraction of metals. According to the website, this project includes the intention to explore zinc, copper, lead, as well as silver as a by-product, in Passo do Cação, a locality about five kilometers from Minas do Camaquã. The proposal is to export concentrates of the minerals through the port of Rio Grande to international markets such as Europe and China, or to take advantage of some of them in Votorantim Metals in Minas Gerais (zinc case).

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Project area:43,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project109.101.000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:1.000.000
Start of the conflict:01/10/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Nexa Resources from Brazil - Projeto Caçapava do Sul
Votorantim Metais from Brazil
Relevant government actors:*FEPAM - RS
*Secretary of Environment - RS
*Municipalities of Caçapava do Sul and Santana da Boa Vista in favor of the enterprise and other 28 prefectures
*Ministérios Públicos Federal e Estadual
*Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG), Pelotas (UFPel) e do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Association for Sustainable Development do Alto Camaquã (ADAC).
Committee on Traditional Peoples and Communities of Pampa
ONG Amigos da Terra Brasil .
União Pela Preservação do Camaquã (UPP).
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Informal workers
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Other Environmental impactsBiodiversity contamination with hazardous substances
Health ImpactsPotential: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Infectious diseases, Other Health impacts
Other Health impacts Lead has previously been related to IQ deficits and nervous problems.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (undecided)
Negotiated alternative solution
New legislation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:Sustainable livestock and beef cattle production and rural tourism.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:It is too early to say but it seems that the company will not gain local consensus.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Debates on mining in the Pampa biome: social and environmental conflicts in the context of local life projects
[click to view]

The possible mining in the pampa biome and the ore flow through the Rio Grande Port: socio-environmental disputes and impacts
[click to view]

Rio Camaquã - Lead No
[click to view]

Mining projects and their impacts in Brazil are discussed in Rio Grande (RS)
[click to view]

Facebook of the movement União pelo Camaquã
[click to view]

Movement against mining in Camaquã River completes one year and conquers support
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Rio Camaquã. Yes the preservation! Not the mining!
[click to view]

Mining project in Camaquã River divides regional population
[click to view]

Dossier "Viventes"
[click to view]

Environmental Impact Study - EIA
[click to view]

Manifesto on Mining Policies, Plans and Projects in Rio Grande do Sul and on the Caçapava do Sul mining project (from Nexa / ex-Votorantin and Iamgold)
[click to view]

The delivery before the tragedy: Rio Grande do Sul before genocidal mining projects
[click to view]

Mining projects and their impact in Brazil are discussed in Rio Grande (RS)
[click to view]

Heavy metal mining threatens the South Half of RS
[click to view]

Activists march in favor of the preservation of the Camaquã River
[click to view]

Southern RS communities resist the offensive of large mining companies
[click to view]

Other comments:The company displays a progamme to seduce the local population: Programa Parceria Votorantim pela Educação (PVE), realizado em parceria com a Secretaria de Educação de Caçapava do Sul (2)
Meta information
Contributor:Search group DIPEM - FURG - E-mail: [email protected].
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3459
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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