Toronto-based Belo Sun Mining Corp. plans to build Brazil's largest gold mine, the Volta Grande open-pit gold project.

But the Globe and Mail reports, "A Brazilian court has suspended the environmental and provisional licences of Toronto-based gold miner Belo Sun Mining Corp., putting a significant new obstacle in the way of the company’s plans to develop Brazil’s largest gold mine on a tributary of the Amazon river. Last November a federal court suspended the company’s environmental permit, saying Belo Sun had not taken necessary steps to analyze the mine’s potential impact on indigenous peoples who live within a few kilometers of the mine site."

Forty-five organizations - including the Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians - are part of a campaign called Belo Sun No! that has been demanding the environmental licensing process for the mine be immediately suspended and that the mine be placed under rigorous review.

The Globe and Mail article notes, "The judge said that the mine stood to cause 'negative and irreversible damage to the quality of life and cultural heritage' of the Juruna and Arara peoples and that Belo Sun must complete a study of this issue before it can proceed."

"Mark Eaton, Belo Sun’s CEO, said the indigenous impact study is already under way..., said the company needs another five months to finish the study, and will 'probably appeal' the federal court suspension."

But, "Leonardo Amorim, the lawyer for an environmental organization called the Social Environmental Institute which has been trying to block the mine, said that timeline would be astonishingly fast for such an impact study, which must be coordinated with Brazil’s indigenous people’s agency, FUNAI. ...[And] Christian Poirier, an activist with the organization Amazon Watch [said] 'Belo Sun has already shown they want to do the absolute minimum to receive their license to drill and it’s encouraging that the federal courts have shown they are not going to let this slide. Clarifying that you’re going to use this much arsenic or dump that much slag by the Xingu River is not enough.'"

The article notes, "In response to the news, some analysts revised the timeline for gold production from Belo Sun from 2016 back as far as 2020."

For more, please see Blue Planet Project opposes Volta Grande gold mine in Brazil.

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