Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Brazilian judge halts rail project close to Earth’s most threatened tribe

Awa tribe win some protection - For now
August 2012. A judge has ordered Brazil's largest mining company to suspend plans to double a controversial railway track, which would have put the livelihoods of Earth's most threatened tribe in jeopardy.

Daily fine of $25,000
In a major setback for mining giant Vale, the ruling demands an immediate freeze on expansion work along the Carajás railway, and sets a daily penalty of US$25,000 for any breach.

Awa tribe
The forest home of Brazil's Awá tribe lies next to the existing railway, along which 2 km-long trains run to the world's largest iron ore mine. The Indians have vocally contested the mining giant's plans, which they say threaten their livelihoods and those of their uncontacted relatives. One Awá man said, ‘We don't accept the expansion of the train line which passes right in front of our territory. It is really bad! It makes a lot of noise! The hunters can't find any game; the animals are scared off'. 

Speaking to Survival International, Vale insisted it would ‘listen to all the Awá's concerns [and] not obtain the license without doing so'.
However, the judge's damning verdict of Vale's social and environment impact studies, labelled its efforts ‘insufficient'. It also called the company's public hearings ‘inefficient', and warned the company it risked causing ‘extremely serious environmental degradation.'

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