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October 5, 2021

Vale halts production at Onca Puma nickel mine in Brazil

The mine’s operating license was suspended by the Environmental and Sustainability office of the Pará state.

Vale has halted operations at its Onca Puma nickel mine in Brazil’s northern Pará state following the suspension of its operating license.

The license has been suspended by Secretaria de Estado de Meio Ambiente e Sustentabilidade (SEMAS), the Environmental and Sustainability office of the Pará state, allegedly due to the company’s failure to comply with its permit terms.

Vale said it is evaluating the impact the shutdown will have on its production, suppliers, contractors and customers.

According to the department, the firm failed to meet the obligation of providing certain services for the communities surrounding the mine, such as setting up a health unit and providing a fibre optics network, reported Reuters.

Vale said it is communicating with SEMAS to assess the technical and legal aspects of the suspension order.

The Brazilian mining company also said it is planning suitable administrative and judicial measures to overturn the order.

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In 2020, Vale reported 16,000 tonnes of nickel production in Brazil.

In September 2019, Vale resumed both mine and processing plant operations at the $3bn Onca Puma complex, following the suspension of injunctions against the firm by the supreme court.

The mining operations had been halted since September 2017 due to the firm’s failure to complete environmental impact for the local indigenous communities, who were affected by pollution caused by the mine.

The nickel processing plant at the Onca Puma complex was suspended in June 2019.

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