Vale halts operations at Onça Puma mine after court order

The suspension comes after a new decision by a higher court. Vale said that it would take measures seeking to overturn the decision.

Onça Puma’s annual capacity is 58,000 tonnes of nickel contained in ferronickel.

Damages to indigenous tribes

Pará’s environment department said on October 4 that the license was suspended due to Vale’s failure to comply with terms of the permit, which included an obligation to provide services for communities surrounding the mine.

Small farmers in the region allege that they live in isolation and have not received any support from Vale since the project started up. 

According to a report from the NGO Finnwatch, Vale operations generated deforestation and polluted the Cateté river, and threaten the lifestyle of the Amazon’s indigenous tribe known as the Xikrin.

In 2018, a Brazilian court ordered Vale to pay the Xikrin and Kayapo indigenous tribes $26.8 million over river contamination and public health-related issues.

Vale’s nickel production in Brazil reached 16,000 tonnes in 2020. Onça Puma accounted for 7.5% of its total nickel production last year.

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