Brazil: Prosecutors to stop Vale nickel mine


Brazilian peasant sprays red paint on the sidewalk of Brazilian mining company Vale S.A. (Companhia Vale do Rio Doce) headquarters during a demonstration against damages to environment on April 18, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Brazilian federal prosecutors have asked a court to suspend operations at Vale's Onça Puma nickel mine in the Brazilian Amazon, saying Vale didn't meet obligations to two native tribes.

The South American country's public ministry has filed legal action against Vale, the Pará state environment secretariat and Brazil's national native institute Funai, according to Dow Jones. Prosecutors have called for the suspension of Onça Puma's activities until two local native tribes, the Xikrin and Kayapó peoples, have been fully compensated for damages caused to their communities by the nickel mine. The ministry is demanding Vale pay compensation of at least $1 million reais ($505,000) per month in compensation for the mine's activities over the last two years.

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Prosecutors alleged that Vale also failed to mitigate the impact of the mine on the two communities, reported Reuters. They also alleged Vale should not have received a license to operate the mine in Ourolandia do Norte, Brazil, since it failed to meet these conditions, which were set out in the mine's preliminary license.

According to MarketWatch, Vale had no immediate comment Monday.

Native groups in Brazil's Amazon have a long history of protesting Vale's activities, according to Reuters. They have previously blocked the company's rail lines and delayed metal shipments. Vale officials said the tribes protest to find a way for the company to pay for services the government should provide, but doesn't.