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Antinuclear Articulation of Ceará releases letter yo Ibama for licensing environmental impact of uranium and phosphate mining in Ceará, Brazil be canceled

Formed by social movements, research groups and Central Sertão communities, the Antinuclear Articulation of Ceará (AACE) has been acting since 2011 by denouncing the impacts of the Santa Quitéria Project, an undertaking that intends to explore the Itataia Reservoir, 222 Km from Fortaleza, to produce 1,600 tons of uranium concentrate and 1,050,000 tons of phosphate derivatives destined for nuclear energy and agribusiness. To make visible the irregularities of the project, which is in the process of environmental licensing at IBAMA, the organization has just released a letter to society.

The document points out that the Santa Quitéria Project will directly affect 156 peasant communities, more than 60 municipalities and three watersheds in Ceará. It will also consume 1 million and 100 thousand liters of water per hour. The cost is equivalent to 125 car-kites per sixty minutes and corresponds to a 400% increase on demand from Edson Queiroz dam, from which it is intended to withdraw water through an adductor. Meanwhile, settlements near the mine survive with 14 kite-cars per month.

In addition to the water injustice, the letter notes that the Santa Quiteria Project will leave waste cells and tailings dam with more than 29 million tons of cubic meters, radioactive material that will be spread by the state and cause contamination of water, of vegetation, of soil and of food. Besides, there are different researches that indicate the relationship between uranium exploration and the increase of cancer cases.

Renata Maia, lawyer in the Urucum Flor Collective, is one of the writers of the document and warns that Fortaleza will also be on the route of contamination, since the uranium concentrate and the phosphate derivatives produced in Santa Quitéria will be taken, by road, to the Port of Mucuripe. “A total of four loads of uranium concentrate per year are planned, each with 25 containers that will take 15 tons of radioactive products to the capital of Ceará. Despite this, studies from the Núcleo Tramas (UFC) reveal that INB and Galvani, proponents of the project, do not characterize Fortaleza as an area directly affected by the project and did not even send to IBAMA a Safety Plan to transport the products”, she points out.

The letter also points out that, in September 2016, IBAMA itself issued a Technical Opinion contrary to the project. The report states, among other irregularities, the lack of proof of water viability, the poor location of tailings piles, the absence of mitigation measures regarding the possible contamination of the nearest communities and the lack of authorizations by IPHAN (Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage) and CNEN (National Commission of Nuclear Energy). Even so, to date, the IBAMA Board has not formally ruled on.

“Despite all flaws of studies that were presented by the companies and all socio-environmental impacts – recognized, even by IBAMA -, the Santa Quitéria Project has not been discussed with the population and the Direction of the environmental autarchy has not yet manifested itself on the filing of its licensing”, says Iara Fraga of the Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mining (MAM-CE).

“In light of this, the AACE letter summarizes the main irregularities of the Santa Quitéria Project and calls for national and international support to request the IBAMA’s Directors to refuse uranium and phosphate mining in Ceará”, concludes Erivan Silva, who is also a member of the MAM -CE.

The document will be available for signatures from institutions and individuals by the end of April and can be accessed at the links: www.urucum.org/ facebook.com/coletivourucum/.

Antinuclear Articulation of Ceará

The Antinuclear Articulation of Ceará (AACE) comprises the communities around the Itataia Reservoir, the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), the Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mining (MAM), the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) ), The Diocesan Caritas of Sobral, the Urucum Flower Collective – Human Rights, Communication and Justice and the Work, Environment and Health Center (TRAMAS) of the Federal University of Ceará. Since 2011, the AACE has been working with the defence of the territorial rights of the populations that can be affected by uranium and phosphate mining in Ceará and, since 2016, it has been in charge of the “Ceará Antinuclear Campaign: in defence of life, of water and of environmental justice”. Among its main activities, we highlight the promotion of spaces for exchanging experiences, human rights training and the dissemination of information to society.

More information:
Renata Maia (85 9 9600.6066) – lawyer in Urucum Flower collective – Human Rights, Communication and Justice.
Iara Fraga (85 98126.5543) – Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mining (MAM).
coletivourucum@gmail.com / www.urucum.org