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Norway: Norsk Hydro seals deal with Brazil over environmental dispute

Norway: Norsk Hydro seals deal with Brazil over environmental dispute

Norwegian metals group Norsk Hydro has settled its dispute over the discharge of untreated water from its aluminium factory Alunorte, Brazil. An official statemnet was released on Thursday.

Norsk Hydro is able to resume normal operations at the largest in the world alumina refinery in Para, Brazil. The environmental dispute between Norwegian company and Brazilian authorities is over, last week, both sides sealed an agreement.

In February, Brazilian authorities had accused Norsk Hydro of having contaminated the Baracena municipality’s waters with bauxite residues which they claimed had overflowed from a deposit basin at the Alunorte plant after heavy rainfall on February 16 and 17. Norsk Hydro had in March apologised for the discharge, adding that it was “completely unacceptable and in breach with what Hydro stands for”.

They slapped Norsk Hydro with two fines of €2.5 million (10 million reals) each and ordered the aluminium supplier to halve its production at the site and suspend the use of the basin.

“On September 5, Alunorte signed two agreements representing a milestone to resume normal operations at the alumina refinery in Para, Brazil,”

Norsk Hydro said in a statement.

How much Norsk Hydro should pay to Brazil?

The group also pledges to pour another 150 million reais into local development projects that will benefit communities living near Alunorte, reads the terms of the two agreements signed Wednesday in Brazil. The Norwegian company has committed to paying a total of 160 million reais in fines, investments and food coupons for local communities.

Norsk Hydro said no timeline has yet been set for the resumption of full operations.

“Neither of the agreements signed include provisions or establishes a timeline to resume normal operations at the refinery. However, Hydro consider the agreements as an important step towards resuming operations,”

the Norwegian company said.

International investors welcomed news of the agreement, bringing Norsk Hydro’s share price up 4.5 percent in Thursday mid-morning trading.