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Ferrovia de Integracão Oeste-Leste (FIOL), Brazil

A railroad of 1.527km long distance aiming to facilitate de transport of iron ore is threatening local communities along the path. Chinese financing is likely.


VALEC is a state enterprise connected to the Ministry of Transports in Brazil. They're building the Ferrovia de Integracão Oeste-Leste (FIOL). The railway is approximately 1500km long, connecting the States of Bahia and Tocantins. The construction process has started in 2011 and the final project's delivery estimated time was 2014. The idea is to drain iron ore production for export  through Ilhéus port. Due to the complexity associated with the logistic complex and a combination of several environmental licence processes to make to project happen (private and public ports, mine, and railway), it has been facing challenges to ramp up into operation.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ferrovia de Integracão Oeste-Leste (FIOL), Brazil
State or province:Bahia, Goiás and Tocantins
Location of conflict:Bom Jesus da Lapa
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land
Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Bahia Oeste Railway starts from Figueirópolis (Tocantins state) to Ihéus (Bahia state) encompassing circa of 1500km. The influence area covers 12 municipalities in Tocantins, 34 in Bahia and 1 in Goiás.

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Project area:1.527 km (railway)
Level of Investment:2,022,808,206
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1,6 million inhabitants (influence area)
Start of the conflict:2015
Company names or state enterprises:VALEC Engenharia, Construcoes e Ferrovias S.A. (VALEC) from Brazil - VALEC is the company responsible for the railway construction
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Transports
Public Prosecutor's Office (Ministério Público Federal ); Conselho de Infraestrutura da Federação das Indústrias da Bahia (Fieb);
International and Finance InstitutionsBanco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Agencia Nacional de Transportes Terrestres (ANTT) (ANTT) from Brazil - Investor
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Movimento Pela Soberania Popular na Mineração (MAM)
Comissão Pastoral da Terra
Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Trade unions
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Referendum other local consultations
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The project was temporarily suspended but the reasons were not connected to the environmental justice struggle in the region. In 2017, president Temer started negotiations with Chinese investors to continue FIOL's project.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Estudos de Viabilidade (EVTEA)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

News article about the construction stoppage and its consequences to mineral extraction in the region.
[click to view]

Project status
[click to view]

Communities impacted by BAMIN and FIOL projects are mobilizing and sharing experiencesin event
[click to view]

IBAMA interrupts FIOL's installation licence
[click to view]

The first 100 families receive indemnification from VALEC
[click to view]

FIOL's railway's construction sites stop and causes delay since 2015
[click to view]

Public prosecutor meets with quilombola communties in Bom Jesus da Lapa, Bahia
[click to view]

Mr. Temer seeks Chinese investors to continue FIOL's project
[click to view]

Prioridade no PAC, ferrovia de R$ 4,2 bi liga mineradora em crise a porto sem data para operar
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Public consultation in Brejinho das Ametistas (Bahia) about the railway construction and mining impacts in the region
[click to view]

Other documents

Preliminar Environmental Impact Assessment Report This document is a preliminary environmental report made in 2008 by VALEC.
[click to view]

Report on Economic Assessment The report is a preliminary economic assessment study made by VALEC in 2008.
[click to view]

VALEC executive board meeting report The meeting aimed to discuss and decide on displacement processes in the communities around the railway construction in 2016.
[click to view]

VALEC expropriation regulation The document is from 2016 and is an updated version of the previous one, dated from 2010.
[click to view]

MAM activists conduct public consultation on FIOL's project in Brejinho das Ametistas
[click to view]

Michel Temer and Xi Jinping. Cooperation agreements between CHINA and BRAZIL to continue FIOL's project.
[click to view]

FERROVIA DE INTEGRAÇÃO OESTE-LESTE: INTEGRAÇÃO SULAMERICANA, PADRÃO DE REPRODUÇÃO DO CAPITAL E CONFLITOS SOCIOAMBIENTAIS The paper analyses FIOL project arguing it estimulates the consolidation of a capital reproduction pattern associated with commodities exports. This pattern tends to generate new tensions and conflicts, especially regarding rural issues.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor: Mariana Galvão (University of Eastern Finland) and Grettel Navas (ENVJustice Project)
Last update29/05/2018
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