SAO PAULO, July 12 (Reuters) - Belo Sun Mining Corp said on Friday that it had won a key legal victory in its push to build a gold mine in the Amazon rainforest, which has drawn criticism from environmentalists and indigenous advocates.
A Brazilian appeals court ruled that the state of Para was the appropriate authority to grant an environmental license for the project, the company said. Prosecutors had argued that the mine needed a license from federal environmental agency Ibama.
The Canadian miner has already received state licensing for the project, adjacent to the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Amazon river.
Belo Sun shares rose 4% on the Toronto stock exchange in early Friday trading.
Federal prosecutors’ spokeswoman Helena Palmquist acknowledged that the court’s decision suspended a lower court’s ruling halting the project, but said the three-judge panel still had not ruled on the merits of the case.
Belo Sun officials did not immediately return calls seeking further comment on the case.
The miner must still deliver a new study on the impact on nearby indigenous communities of the project, which promises to be Brazil’s largest gold mine.
Brazilian nonprofit Instituto Socioambiental, which is documenting the impact of the Belo Monte dam on nearby tribes, has warned that the chemicals and mining waste involved in the Belo Sun project pose serious risks to natives’ way of life. (Reporting by Christian Plumb Editing by Susan Thomas)