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Brazil’s Vale abandons all mining operations on indigenous lands

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vale mining company has dropped all mining operations on indigenous lands in Brazil, after recognizing that the activity in such regions could only occur with the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples and legislation that allows and adequately regulates the activity, the company said in a statement.

Currently not involved in any mineral research or mining activities on Indigenous Lands in Brazil, the company had already dropped 89 mining processes – including research and mining applications – which affect Indigenous Lands in the country, with the National Mining Agency (ANM) between 2020 and 2021.

Vale mining company has dropped all mining operations on indigenous lands in Brazil. (Photo internet reproduction)

In the coming days, the company will register waivers and renunciations for the group of 15 remaining mining processes that affect part of the Xikin do Cateté Indigenous Land, the company said, one of the world’s largest iron ore producers.

“Recognizing the FPIC is crucial to addressing the rights of indigenous populations to determine their own development and the right to exercise self-determination when faced with decisions that affect their territories,” it said in a press release.

Accordingly, Vale added that “the protection of individuals, their cultures and ways of life, as well as the protection of traditional indigenous lands and indigenous self-government, within the political model of sovereign states, represent the protection of human rights.”

The announcement comes while the Federal Supreme Court (STF) is discussing the potential introduction of a timeframe limitation for indigenous lands.

In general, the timeframe limitation argument would introduce a kind of cut-off line for demarcations, if passed. Lands would only be subject to demarcation (which then grants indigenous owners exclusive control over their lands) if it could be demonstrated that the indigenous peoples were living on them up to the enactment of the Constitution on October 5, 1988. Otherwise, there would be no such right.

In its latest development, the trial was suspended after a request for review by STF Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

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