Brazil suspends Chinese iron ore project licensing

Posted on 23 January 2020

Source: Kallanish

The Brazilian 3rd Federal Court of Montes Claros in Minas Gerais State has issued a preliminary decision suspending the licensing procedures for the Sul Americana de Metais (SAM) iron ore project, Kallanish notes. SAM is a subsidiary of China’s Honbridge Holdings.

The Projeto Bloco 8 includes the building of iron mine located in Grão Mogol and Padre Carvalho with a treatment plant, water dam, two tailings dams, among other structures. The project also involves a 480 km pipeline which to transport the material to the port in Ilhéus, crossing 21 municipalities. SAM is planning an annual production of 30 million tonnes of iron ore with a 20% Fe content.

Brazilian Minas Gerais State Public Prosecutor's Office (MPMG) and the Federal Public Ministry questioned the fractioning of the licensing procedures. This is attributed to the State of Minas Gerais, for the mine, and to the Institute for the Environment and Renewable Resources (Ibama), in the case of an associated pipeline. Ibama had already concluded that the project was not viable due to its large scale and the socio-environmental damage that it would cause.

Because of the low-grade iron extraction, millions of tonnes of material without commercial value will be removed and deposited in three reservoirs with a total capacity of 2.4 billion cubic metres. Before the dam rupture accidents, Vale`s Córrego do Feijão mine dam in Brumadinho had the capacity to store 12 million m³, while the Samarco Fundão dam in Mariana had about 56m m³ of tailings, Ibama notes.


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