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Bauxite mining and deforestation in Oriximina (Para), Brazil


The municipality of Oriximina, located in the West of Para, has today 35 quilombolas communities spread over 9 ethnic territories. Among these communities, 25 have the titles to their land. The others have been waiting for several decades for the official recognition of their territories by the Brazilian State.

Since 1970, these communities are fighting against the activity of logging and mining companies to defend the integrity of their territories. The main mining company currently in action in the municipality is the Mineraçao Rio do Norte - MRN, which holds at least 10 grants to mining, affecting more than 100 thousand hectares. However, at least seven other companies- including BHP Billinto and Vale - already required permission for mining areas in the municipality, being at different stages of the administrative process conducted by the Departamento Nacional de Producao Mineral - DNPM.

MRNs activities, and of other smaller mining companies, already forced the migration of hundreds of quilombolas families from their land. These activities are also responsible for extensive deforested areas in Oriximina, mainly around the Quilombo lands. Over the years, the company imposes to quilombolas restrictions on hunting, in agriculture and in gathering forest products, such as Brazil nuts. The struggle of communities for legal titles to their territories and against the impacts caused by the mining companies has received the support of local and national organizations such as Associacao das Comunidades Remanescentes de Quilombos do Municipio de Oriximina - ARQMO, a Coordenacao das Associacoes das Comunidades Remanescentes de Quilombos do Para - Malungu e a Comissao Pro-Indio de Sao Paulo - CPI-SP.

The public prosecutors has already filed several lawsuits against the company and achieved important victories, like the suspension of an authorization for deforestation in the Floresta Nacional Saraca-Taquera. Questioned out of court the absence of prior consultation the quilombolas during the environmental licensing of the companys expansion plans and arranged for the Labor Court apply a fine in the company in the amount of 325.000 dollars for recurring violations of labor laws relating to right to rest of its workers, submitted them to working hours above the limits fixed by the Brazilian labor legislation.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Bauxite mining and deforestation in Oriximina (Para), Brazil
State or province:Para
Location of conflict:Oriximina
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local 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
Specific commodities:Timber

Project Details and Actors

Project details

MRN has ability to extract 18 million tons of bauxite per year.

The bauxite extraction is made at a depth of eight feet.

Trains with 46 wagons are used to transport bauxite from the mine until the Trombetas Port.

From the port the ore is transported by ships with capacity for up to 60 thousand tons. A waterway is maintained to allow the passage of ships.

Project area:150000
Level of Investment:750000000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1970
Company names or state enterprises:Mineracao Rio do Norte (MRN) from Brazil
Alcoa from United States of America - the company has 9,62% of MRNs shares
Hydro from Norway - it has 5%
Companhia Brazileira do Aluminio (CBA) from Brazil - it has 10%
Rio Tinto Alcan (Rio Tinto) from Canada - it has 12%
BHP Billiton (BHP) from United Kingdom - it has 14,8%
Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto ) from Australia
Vale (Vale) from Brazil - owns 40%
Relevant government actors:Advocacia Geral da Uniao - AGU, Departamento Nacional de Producao Mineral - DNPM, Instituto Chico Mendes de Biodiversidade ICMBio, Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazonia - Imazon, Instituto Nacional de Colonizacao e Reforma Agraria - INCRA, Instituto Nacional de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Naturais Renovaveis - IBAMA, Ministrio Publico Federal - MPF, Ministerio Publico do Trabalho - MPT, Governo do Estado do Para, Assembleia Legislativa do Estado do Para - ALESPA, Instituto de Terras do Para - ITERPA, Instituto de Desenvolvimento Economico, Social e Ambiental do Para - IDESP, Instituto de Desenvolvimento Florestal do Estado do Para - Ideflor, Ministerio Publico Estadual do Para - MPE-PA
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Supporters: Associacao das Comunidades Remanescentes de Quilombos do Municipio de Oriximina - ARQMO, Coordenao das Associaes das Comunidades Remanescentes de Quilombos do Par - Malungu, Comissao Pro-Indio de Sao Paulo - CPI-SP

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Community-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


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Accidents, Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Infectious diseases, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Land demarcation
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Mining continues to cause impacts to communities and the problems related to them were not tackled effectively.

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

ORGANIZACAO INTERNACIONAL DO TRABALHO. Convencao 169 sobre Povos Indigenas e Tribais.

BRASIL. Presidencia da Republica. Casa Civil. LEI No 9.985, DE 18 DE JULHO DE 2000: Regulamenta o art. 225, 1o, incisos I, II, III e VII da Constituicao Federal, institui o Sistema Nacional de Unidades de Conservacao da Natureza e da outras providencias.

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

Globalization in the Brazilian Amazon Region: Conflicting Answers from Quilombo Communities

Report: Quilombola Lands in Oriximin: Pressure and Threats

WANDERLEY, Luiz Jardim de Moraes. O Grande Projeto Minerador e Seus Impactos Territoriais de Localizacao: O Caso da MRN Em Oriximina-PA. Grupo de Pesquisa Mineracao e Desenvolvimento Sustentavel. Acesso em: 13 jul. 2009.

MAPA DA INJUSTICA AMBIENTAL E SAUDE NO BRASIL. Poder estatal e dominacao territorial contra os quilombolas extrativistas do Trombetas.

ANDRADE, L.M.M. Terras Quilombolas em Oriximin: presses e ameaas. Comisso Pr-ndio de So Paulo. So Paulo: out. 2011, 44 p. 2011.

Book: Antes a Água era Cristalina, Pura e Sadia – Percepções quilombolas e ribeirinhas dos impactos e riscos da mineração em Oriximiná, Pará- Comissão Pró-Índio de São Paulo

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

PYL, Bianca. MPF convoca reuniao para tratar de exploracao mineral em Terras Quilombolas do Para. Brasil de Fato, 23 out. 2012.

MINISTERIO PUBLICO FEDERAL. Justica suspende desmatamento da Mineracao Rio do Norte em Oriximina (PA). 10 ago. 2011. Available at:

MPF/PA questiona IBAMA sobre regularidade de exploracao mineraria na floresta nacional (flona) Saraca-Taquera. Ecodebate, 21 set. 2012.

PROCURADORIA REGIONAL DO TRABALHO DA 8th REGIAO. Mineracao Rio do Norte e condenada a pagar mais de 650 mil em danos morais coletivos por praticar excesso de jornada. 30 nov. 2012.

Brazil: The toxic impact of bauxite mining in Oriximiná

A guerra secreta pela bauxita

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network


Other documents

MRN Dam (lake with reddish colour water) and Quilombo Boa Vista on the other bank. Photo: Carlos Penteado.

A MRN tem 22 barragens de rejeito de bauxita e areia e ainda pretende ampliar sua área de extração Foto: Carlos Penteado/Comissão Pró-Índio de São Pauloàs-18.46.44.png

Meta information

Contributor:Diogo Rocha
Last update14/03/2019



MRN Dam (lake with reddish colour water) and Quilombo Boa Vista on the other bank.

Photo: Carlos Penteado.

A MRN tem 22 barragens de rejeito de bauxita e areia e ainda pretende ampliar sua área de extração

Foto: Carlos Penteado/Comissão Pró-Índio de São Paulo