The Volta Grande Project is carried out by Belo Sun Mineração, a subsidiary of the Canadian Belo Sun Mining Corp, which is seeking to install its facilities in the municipality of Senador José Porfírio, in the state of Pará. If implemented, the Volta Grande project will be the largest open-pit gold exploration in Brazil—and the final blow to the region of Volta Grande do Xingu in the state of Pará, already hit by the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant.
AThe company plans to build a huge infrastructure, including two open pit mines, a landfill and a tailings dam, just a few kilometers from the Xingu River. According to studies by independent researchers, there are real risks that the tailings dam break and carry elements and chemical compounds present in them, such as cyanide, arsenic, lead and aluminum, causing the contamination of all water sources in the area. The mine will be installed on top of a complex network of streams that are vital to life on the Xingu River.
None of these aspects is being properly addressed by the company in its environmental impacts assessment, nor is the cumulative and synergistic relationship of these impacts with Belo Monte.
Belo Sun has been trying for years to win legal battles and faces constant suspensions of its licenses due to violations of rights of Indigenous peoples and other traditional communities in the region.
The implementation of the Volta Grande project could mean the death of the Xingu River, the ecocide of a vital region for life on Earth. The direct and indirect social and environmental impacts of the Volta Grande project fall, above all, on the hundreds of riverine people, fishermen, small farmers and Indigenous communities that live in the region. In addition to the Juruna, Arara and Xikrin, Volta Grande is home to many Indigenous peoples and several riverine and traditional communities. Despite the advanced stage of project licensing, most of these communities were not properly consulted. Watch the videos of the
Vila Ressaca, and the Kuruaya Indigenous Land
(not yet demarcated), to learn more about these communities’ struggle against mining.
Belo Sun's interests are not limited to the area currently subject to licensing. The company holds dozens of applications in the region, 11 of which interfere with Indigenous lands—all for gold ore research. The two Indigenous lands that overlap these requests are Arara da Volta Grande do Xingu and Trincheira Bacajá with, respectively, 7 and 4 applications. There is no record of withdrawal requests for these applications.