The local residents association of the city of Paracatu in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais alleges that River Paracatu Mining Company, a subsidiary of Canadian mining company Kinross, has caused incalculable harm to people and the environment around an adjacent gold mine. The complaint is based on a report by the Council for the Defense of Human Rights that determines that the cause of chronic poisoning of the population of Paracatu is the release of arsenic and other toxic substances by open-pit gold mining activity. The complaint further alleges that the company has caused cracks in houses adjacent to the mining site and has caused the isolation of rural properties close to new hydroelectric dams in the region of Machadinho.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Chapter II
- Chapter II Paragraph A1
- Chapter II Paragraph A11
- Chapter II Paragraph A12
- Chapter II Paragraph A15
- Chapter II Paragraph A2
- Chapter II Paragraph A7
- Chapter IV
- Chapter IV Paragraph 1
- Chapter IV Paragraph 2
- Chapter IV Paragraph 3
- Chapter IV Paragraph 4
- Chapter IV Paragraph 5
- Chapter IV Paragraph 6
- Chapter VI
- Chapter VI Paragraph 3
- Chapter VI Paragraph 4
- Chapter VI Paragraph 5
- Chapter VI Paragraph 6
- Chapter VI Paragraph 6 d
After completing its initial assessment in August 2013, the Brazilian NCP accepted the case for further examination. The Brazilian Ministry of Environment is taking the lead in handling the case for the NCP. The company has responded, and the NCP is requesting further information from the parties.
Three mediation sessions were then held between September 2015 and September 2016.
A Final Statement was then issued by the Brazilian NCP on 21 December 2016 explaining the outcomes of the three mediation meetings and with recommendations for Kinross. During the mediation meetings, Kinross stated its intention to work with the City Hall to help establish compensation for the homes damaged in the three neighborhoods, although they claimed there was no formal link established between the company’s use of explosives and the damage caused on the houses. Additionally, Kinross stated the communities needed to provide proof of ownership of land and that the houses affected by the project had not been built according to Brazilian law.
The NCP states that an signed agreement was made prior to the last NCP mediation meeting between the community associations and the company in June 2016, although it’s important to note that the petitioner of the Machadinho residents’ association informed the NPC that he was not aware of this agreement during the final mediation meeting, and that the other complainants were not present in the final mediation meeting to verify this.
The NCP recommended that Kinross should:
Send information to the NCP regarding their work with the City Hall and how they will implement the process that had been agreed upon.
Provide a copy of the project document to be established for each area of Paracatu in 2017, in order to monitor the process.
Support the community of Machadinho in providing guidance on how to make a proposal to apply for the company’s programs in Paracatu;
Inform residents from neighbouring areas of their work and future projects to build a relationship of trust;
Conduct due diligence processes that assess the adverse impacts of its mining activities and establish a maximum distance between its mining operations and the home dwellings in the outlying districts of Paracatu.