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BRAZIL: Brazilian Indians leave iron mine

BBC News
October 20th, 2006

A group of about 200 Xikrin Indians in Brazil have agreed to leave an iron mine they occupied on Tuesday.

The owner of the Carajas mine, CVRD, said the protest had stopped the export of 500,000 metric tons of iron ore.

The protesters - armed with clubs and bows and arrows - were demanding money and improvements to infrastructure.

The government's Indian affairs agency said CVRD had not renegotiated aid with the Xikrin as agreed, but the company denied that was part of the accord.

Mercio Gomes, president of the Federal Indian Bureau (Funai), said the mining firm had not fulfilled a September renegotiation clause which is part of its agreement with the indigenous group.

"We hope they will honour this commitment just like they would honour pledges to their clients," Mr Gomes was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

A spokesman for CVRD - the world's largest iron ore mining firm - said no such clause existed and all the terms of the agreement were being honoured.

The firm said it would not "negotiate with communities that utilise illegal methods to force the company to accept their demands".

CVRD contributes US$4.3m (2.3m) to Funai for distribution to the local indigenous population.

The Xikrin want the company to maintain and improve roads and build 60 houses for tribal members in the two villages they inhabit in the state of Para.

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