Industrial Complex Porto Açu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Industrial Complex Porto Açu, to the north of Rio de Janeiro State, directly impacts 5.000 people and imposes degradation in an area of environmental protection to the benefit of iron ore exports.


Industrial Complex Porto Açu is localized in the North of Rio de Janeiro State. Also knowed as the 'Super Port', it has capacity for the largest ships in the world and boasts an unual nickname: Highway to China, as most of the products, mainly raw materials, will be exported to the Asian country. The project was started by the company Logistic LLX, part of EBX Group, owned by the entrepreneur Eike Batista. Since 2013, the majority of the Port is controled by  Prumo Logística S.A., a subsidiary from the the group Global Energy Partners - EIG.

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Basic Data
NameIndustrial Complex Porto Açu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
ProvinceSão João da Barra
SiteRio de Janeiro
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesIron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsEstimate of 26.5 million tons of concentrated iron ore will go through de Port per year to supply the foreign market in the next years

The Port complex covers and area of 90 km², comprising an offshore terminal (Terminal 1) and an onshore terminal (Terminal 2). It is connected with an iron ore pipeline of 525 km of extension.
Project Area (in hectares)9000
Level of Investment (in USD)2,800,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population5000 (direct)
Start Date2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesGlobal Energy Partners (EIG) ((EIG) ) from United States of America
EBX Group (EBX) from Brazil
PRUMO Global Logistics from Brazil - owner
Anglo American from United Kingdom - Majority owner of the pipeline project and the mine in Minas Gerais directly connected to the Port and minority shareholder at Prumo Logistica
Relevant government actorsFederal government

State of Rio de Janeiro

Municipality of São João da Barra


Companhia de Desenvolvimento Industrial (Codin)
International and Financial InstitutionsBanco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssociação dos Proprietários de Imóveis e Moradores de Pipeiras, Barcelos, Cajueiro e Campo da Praia (ASPRIM)

Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas (IBASE)

Comissão Pastoral da Terra – CPT

Associação dos Geógrafos Brasileiros (AGB)

Grupo de Estudos em Temáticas Ambientais (GESTA/UFMG)

Instituto Federal Fluminense – IFF-RJ

Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – MST

Rede Brasileira de Justiça Ambiental - RBJA

Núcleo de Estudos Rurais e Urbanos – NERU/UFF
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Some compensation has been asked for but there are also cases of refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Desertification/Drought, Noise pollution
Potential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Accidents, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other Health impacts, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesObligation of public consultations.

Publication of Dossiers as a result of partnership between local community, academic researchers and NGOs
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.In the matter of the project itself, Porto Açu case is not a succcess. Although there were so many effort by the community, researchers and activists, it continues to operate without big modifications, activists report several threats and thousands of people were displaced. There is no transparency by the governments so far. However, taking into account the mobilization, creation of an association to fight for the rights of farmers and fishermen and other kinds of community-based organization and knowledge development, Porto Açu is a very important case of resistance.
Sources and Materials

Federal Prosecutors Office
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Human Rights Violations at Porto Açu

Homa - Centro de Direitos Humanos e Empresas
[click to view]


Os deserdados do desenvolvimento: O caso da implantação do Complexo Portuário e Industrial do Açu e seus impactos socio-territoriais
[click to view]

Data about the city Sao Joao da Barra
[click to view]

Dossier Minas-Rio Project and its social-environmental impacts: a look from the perspective of affected people
[click to view]

Injustiça Ambiental, Mineração e Siderurgia
[click to view]


[click to view]

Açu Port supports state government’s reading incentive program and workshop in São João da Barra
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News report at Canal Ibase
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News report at The Guardian newspaper
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News report on G1 focus on sandbank degradation in São João da Barra
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Megaproject impact farmers
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Fiocruz Environmental Conflicts map - the case of Porto Açu
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Case Porto Açu at OCMAL Atlas
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News report at O Globo newspaper - Inhabitant of São João da Barra refuses compensation (Noêmia Magalhaes: Na negociação, existem duas coisas distintas: preço e valor. Quem não sabe a diferença não entende o amor. Quanto vale seu projeto de vida? Isso se negocia?)
[click to view]

Media Links

Projeto Minas-Rio, uma história de violações: Porto Açu e mineroduto atingem 32 cidades
[click to view]

Ignorados - made by researchers in Campos dos Goytacazes
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Rio nega licença para térmica a carvão no Porto do Açu. DENISE LUNA.15/10/2013 . Folha de Sao Paulo.
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Noêmia Magalhães fala da luta contra as desapropriações no Porto do Açu
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Other Documents

Scenario after eviction in São João da Barra
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Resistance Exchange in São João da Barra Communities from São João da Barra and Conceição do Mato Dentro meet for an exchange of resistance, in 2014. Picture: Roberto Moraes
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Porto Açu project Aerial view of Porto Açu, in São João da Barra. Picture: Roberto Moraes
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Landscape of Porto Açu Complex The Port responds to about 60% of access to the coastal area. Aerial fotos taken by the researcher Roberto Moraes
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Resistance Exchange in São João da Barra In 2013, communities impacted by the Porto Açu works meet with communities affected by the mine in Conceição do Mato Dentro for an exchange of resistance against Minas-Rio entire system. The meeting was supported by academic researchers groups and NGOs. Foto by Camila Nobrega
[click to view]

Other CommentsA controversial 2100 MW coal fired power station was foreseen by Eike Batista but it was discarded in favour of one of natural gas. (Folha de Sao Paulo, 15 Oct. 2013).
Meta Information
ContributorCamila Nobrega, Free University of Berlin.
Last update06/12/2016