SAO PAULO, July 10 Brazilian Indians seeking
better public services blocked a key railway carrying iron ore
from global miner Vale's giant Carajas mine to port,
the company said on Wednesday.
Vale did not say how much iron ore had been held up by the
protests, which were not directed at the company. The railway,
known as EFC, carries close to 100 million tonnes of iron ore a
year, or nearly 10 percent of the world's 1 billion tonnes of
The line connects the Carajas mining complex in Brazil's
Amazonian state of Pará with the Port of Ponta da Madeira near
São Luis, the Atlantic port capital of Maranhão state on
Brazil's Northeast coast.
The railway moves a third of Vale's iron ore output of about
300 million tonnes a year and is being expanded along with
Carajas to make up for declining output in Brazil's central
COAPIMA, an organization representing indigenous groups in
Maranhão, said various tribes were demonstrating to demand
better services, including health care, on their reservations.
Vale said a local court ruled the protesters should be
evicted from the railway but the order had not yet been carried
out. The miner, the world's second-largest, last week received
permission from Brazil's Environmental Protection Agency to
build a $19.5 billion expansion to Carajas.
Brazil, which has set about 13 percent of its territory for
Indians, is struggling to defuse a series of conflicts with
natives over farmland, proposed hydroelectric dams, and mines.
President Dilma Rousseff, who will likely run for
re-election next year, has tried to prevent more violence since
two Terena Indians were killed when police evicted members of
the tribe from a former congressman's cattle ranch last month.
Indians were generally not involved in massive protests that
rocked cities across Brazil in late June and focused on a range
of urban grievances from government corruption to inadequate
public transportation and hospitals.