Concessionaire Norte Energia, owner of the Belo Monte hydroelectric power station, in Pará, sent a request to the state government to reassess the Canadian company Belo Sun’s gold mining project, which intends to transform an area located a few kilometers from the dam. hydroelectric power plant in Brazil’s largest industrial mining.
Estadão has access to a letter Norte Energia sent last week to the Secretariat for Environment and Sustainability (Semas), the Pará government agency responsible for environmental licensing in the state. In the document, which was also sent to the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) and the National India Foundation (Funai), the owner of Belo Monte warns that the studies that have been carried out “show a conflict between the activities and the risks involved in carrying out mining activities in relation to their operations. UHE (PLTA) Belo Monte”.
While there are a series of “cumulative and synergistic effects between mining and hydroelectric projects”, the licensing process for the “Vola Grande Project”, by Belo Sun of Canada, is handled by the State Secretariat for the Environment (Semas) Pará, while Hydroelectricity Belo Monte is licensed by Ibama.
For years, the Federal Ministry of Public Affairs in Altamira has questioned the licensing rite. Norte Energia itself warned in 2013 that it was concerned about the possible impact mining would have on its structure. The gold extraction process foreseen for the region includes continuous use of explosives, over many years of activity. Belo Sun has denied that there is a risk of an earthquake. Sought by the report, Norte Energia has no comment on the matter.
In 2014, Semas released an initial permit for a mining project on the banks of the Xingu River, an authorization that would prove environmental viability, provided certain requirements were met. In 2017, the secretariat issued an installation permit for the Volta Grande Project, which allowed the assembly of infrastructure for effective gold exploration, but a court decision suspended its impact.
After issuing the two permits, Belo Sun was asked to show documents and a study on the project’s impact on the factory area.
When contacted, Belo Sun Mineração stated that he did not know the contents of Norte Energia’s official letter. The mining company stated that, “in the last three years, it has maintained technical dialogue with Norte Energia and shared the latest information on the permitting of the Volta Grande Project, either at Norte Energia’s request or on its own initiative”.
The company informs that technical and social project updates are regularly submitted to the licensing agency, which concludes consultations and Indigenous Component Studies with local communities and that “it will continue to promote the Volta Grande Project consciously, in dialogue with the parties involved” stakeholders, following all applicable laws and regulations and respect for indigenous and local communities”.
Semas stated, in a note, that the environmental permitting process for Belo Sun had been suspended by court decision since 2017.
The Republic’s regional attorney, Felicio Pontes, said Norte Energia now recognizes what riverbanks and indigenous peoples have been warning about for a decade. “The region can barely cope with the structure of the factory and its impact. The two big projects in the region are simply unbearable.”
This information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.
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