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Vale returns rights on indigenous land in Brazil

Mining major Vale is relinquishing its mineral rights on indigenous lands in Brazil to the National Mining Agency (ANM).
Vale returns rights on indigenous land in Brazil Vale returns rights on indigenous land in Brazil Vale returns rights on indigenous land in Brazil Vale returns rights on indigenous land in Brazil Vale returns rights on indigenous land in Brazil

The Amazon River runs through Brazil’s Para state. Image: Pixabay/zeedoo

Staff reporter

The company said the decision was taken because it recognised exploration in these areas depended on prior consent and proper regulation, sister publication Mining News Brazil (NMB) reported.

NMB said the decision comes amid debate in Brazil's Federal Supreme Court around the constitutionality of a cut-off date of October 5, 1988, for indigenous land claims.

"The recognition of the FPIC [free, prior and informed consent] is fundamental to meet the rights of indigenous populations to determine their own development and the right to exercise self-determination in the face of decisions that affect their territories," Vale said in a translated statement.

The miner said it did not currently carry out any mineral research or mining activities on indigenous lands in Brazil.

It returned 89 titles in 2020 and would now return the remaining 15 in the Xikrin do Cateté land in Para state, NMB reported.

Vale has had a fractured relationship with the Xikrin people and was ordered to pay millions in environmental and health damages in 2018 over the impact of its Onca Puma nickel operations. 

"[Vale] reiterates its respect for indigenous peoples and its total willingness to resolve this controversy with the Xikrin People of Cateté," the company says on its website.