Alunorte Embargo Winding Through Brazilian Courts

Alunorte Embargo Winding Through Brazilian Courts

Norwegian aluminium smelter Norsk Hydro ASA updated its investors on the situation at its Brazilian aluminium refinery Alunorte, noting that progress had been made both on the judicial front and with state environmental regulators.

Hydro said Monday that it has reached an agreement with the Ministério Público to engage outside consultants to determine whether the studies from University of Campina Grande and Pará Secretary of State for Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS) that indicated that the facility would be able to safely return to full production were carried out using the proper rules and parameters.

Should outside assessments find in favor of the studies, Hydro said that the Ministério Público would petition the relevant Federal court to rescind the injunction. Hydro estimates the third-party assessment to be completed next month.

Meanwhile, the Federal Court in Belém will hold a conciliatory hearing between the Ministério Público and Alunorte to determine whether the state should allow the firm to begin utilizing the DRS2 bauxite deposit area. Currently a pair of court-appointed technical experts are in the midst of a 60-day site evaluation, which will pass through a 30-day formalization process upon completion prior to reporting results to the court.

Finally, Alunorte, Hydro, the Ministério Público, and the Government of the State of Pará have come to an agreement on amendments to the Term of Adjusted Conduct (TAC) at the site. The amendments will obligate the parties to form a Technical Committee that will be tasked to devise solutions for implementing the TAC. Each party will appoint a representative to the committee.

In addition, the TAC has been amended to change deadlines for certain of the obligations laid out in the agreement. Hydro’s press release did not specify which obligations will have changed deadlines, or what those new deadlines will be, however.