The state of Para liberates predatory gold extraction in impacted area by Belo Monte

The Secretary of Environment and Sustainability of the State of Pará (Sema) liberated the license of installation of the mega-project of gold extraction for the Canadian company Belo Sun Mining, in the region of Volta Grande do Xingu, area which is impacted by the hydro-power dam of Belo Monte, in the municipality of Senador José Porfírio (PA). 

The company wants to extract 108 tons of mines and make a profit of approximately 1 billion of dollars in 17 years; it's the largest project of open mine gold extraction in Brazil.

This project will impact the area of Volta Grande do Xingu, 100 kilometers of river, which 80% is deviated to feed the dam turbines of Belo Monte.

Photo of the impacted river side

Belo Monte has already impacted the area, where the people in the region are affected: their main way of transport which is the river is now hindered, the water temperature has changed which impacted the fishing activity, the water is polluted due to the dam (there are report of cases of illness in indigenous children due to water contamination) and the infestation of mosquitoes by the river .

Nevertheless, none of these impacts is recognized by Norte Energia (company that owns Belo Monte), which refuses to re-settle the families affected from these areas. The company limits to “monitor” the region until 2025 to verify if there is really impacts that unables the survival in the area.

Even, in this scenario of “uncertainty”, the government of Para has authorized Belo Sun to install in this region. "It's absurd that the license is approved without any serious base on the possible impacts in this area which is already vulnerable”, states Jackson Dias, MAB's activist from the region. "Besides, the process of licensing did not count on a real participation of the population that will be affected.”

Moreover, the company has committed irregularities: has forbidden the craft miners (who lives in the area for more than 40 years) to exercise their working activity; and, according to denounces made by INCRA (Federal Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform) the company is buying irregularly areas which is supposed to be intended for agrarian reform in the area.

Belo Sun also did not consider the impact study regarding the indigenous populations who live in the region, of the ethnic groups Arara and Juruna. 

The numbers of the construction project is horrifying. The piles of removed stones is preseen to be as huge as the Pão de Açucar hill (postcard of Rio de Janeiro)!

The tailings dams will content will have a capacity to hold 92 millions cubic meters, one and half larger than the tailings dam of Samarco (Vale-BHP Billiton) bursted in Mariana. In this tailings dam will be spilled 37 thousand of tons of cyanide – toxic material. Besides, the same company (VOGBr) and the same engineer (Samuel Loures) that has stated the viability of the Fundão dam in Mariana has made the geographical-technical study of Belo Sun's tailings dam.

arpillera of the region

The Federal Public Ministry questions the fact the licensing process occurred only at state instance, since the construction will be done at the side of a river that runs over more than one state and in area located impacted by a hydro-power dam Belo Monte, licensed in a federal instance. The State Public Defense had also requested Semas to not allow the license of the project.