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Vale challenges court order halting Onca Puma nickel mine over river pollution

Vale SA said Aug. 7 that it is challenging the decision to suspend its Onca Puma nickel operations in Brazil's Para state, saying the related reports from seven experts appointed by the Federal Judge of Redenção did not establish any connection between its activities and the alleged contamination of the Cateté River.

Nickel processing at Onca Puma was suspended in June after mining operations were suspended in September 2017 due to court orders amid allegations of pollution at the nearby river.

The mining giant warned of negative impacts on local communities due to the stoppage, saying it purchased goods worth 300 million Brazilian reais in 2018 from local suppliers, while salaries paid to staff at the mine would no longer be spent in the area.

One of the biggest iron ore producers in the world, Vale has suffered lower production and earnings and has seen growing opposition by Brazilian communities and government agencies since a tailings dam collapse in January killed hundreds.

As of Aug. 7, US$1 was equivalent to 3.98 Brazilian reais.