The miner previously suspended operations at Onça Puma in mid-September after receiving a judicial order and stands accused of contaminating the nearby Catete river, resulting in public health-related issues.
Brazil's prosecutor-general said Friday the mining giant would not be able to restart mining until it met certain environmental requirements.
Vale was also ordered to lay out a plan to mitigate river contamination and related health issues, as well as pay compensation to indigenous people belonging to the Xikrin and Kayapo tribes, according to local magazine Forum.
As well as the $26.8 million in damages, the court has also ordered Vale to pay a minimum wage to each affected indigenous person.
A Vale spokesperson told Mining Journal the decision did not bring anything new to a case that was still ongoing.
"Vale will appeal the ruling. Also, there are studies showing that operations were not harming the environment or indigenous peoples. The site has all the necessary environmental licenses," they said.
Vale produced 6,100 tonnes of Class II nickel from Onça Puma in the September quarter, up 8.9% quarter-on-quarter due to greater furnace availability, and comprising 11% of the total 55,700t nickel produced.
Onça Puma's EBITDA for the September quarter was $29 million, up $4 million from the June quarter.