Brazilian Court Upholds the Suspension of License for Largest Open-Pit Gold Mine in Amazon

A Brazilian court upheld the suspension of an environmental license for the largest gold mining project in a Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest.

The suspension of the Volta Grande Project’s (VGP) environmental license, which the Canadian company Belo Sun Mining Corporation aims to carve into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon was upheld by the First Regional Federal Court of Brazil (TRF-1) in a ruling issued on Monday.

The TRF-1 ruling was the result of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office’s collaboration to prevent the construction of Belo Sun’s massive gold mine and to seek justice for illegal acts committed during the VGP’s environmental licensing process.

“This important victory was made possible through sustained pressure and resistance from Indigenous and traditional communities,” said the Amazon Watch Organization.

The project’s environmental license has been suspended since 2017, when the same Regional Court found that Belo Sun and the Brazilian government violated Indigenous peoples’ right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consultation and Consent.

In addition to the VGP’s violation of the Amazonian Indigenous people’s rights, The VGP also spans 2,400 hectares of Amazonian territory, but Belo Sun’s mining interests in the “Três Palmeiras” greenstone belt reach up to 170,000 hectares. 

The Amazon Watch also urged more attention to the VGP’s threats to the Amazon, “Now, we call on you to join us and bring attention to the threats posed by Belo Sun alongside a community delegation in May where leaders will take these strategies to European politicians and corporations.”

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