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Finnwatch chides Outokumpu over Brazilian supplier

Steel firm Outokumpu is part-owned by the Finnish state. 

Vale -kaivosyhtiön pääkonttori Rio de Janeirossa.
Vale has a poor reputation, according to Finnwatch. Image: Antonio Lacerda / EPA

An Outokumpu supplier in the Amazon is polluting rainforest areas important to indigenous groups, according to the Finnwatch NGO.

Mining firm Vale is accused of polluting the Cateté river near the Onça Puma mine in north-eastern Brazil. The company denies that its mines have polluted the river.

Nickel imported to Finland is not identified by original source in the customs documentation, but Finnwatch traced the supply lines using Brazil's export register database.

The NGO says nickel from Vale ended up at Outokumpu plants in Finland, Sweden and the United States, and the company did not demand its suppliers properly respect human rights in its operations.

Finnwatch says that the mining firm's actions have increased deforestation in the Amazonas region, which has had severe ecological and social consequences for indigenous groups.

"The company has a very poor reputation, and it has repeatedly been suspected of deliberately neglecting to take precautions to avoid polluting the environment or protecting people's lives," says the Finnwatch report. "Vale is on the Norwegian state's oil fund's blacklist of companies it can't invest in."

Finnwatch also criticises the Finnish state's holding company Solidium for not upholding its principles of responsible ownership in relation to Outokumpu. Solidium holds a 20.5 percent stake in Outokumpu.

EDIT 24.2.2021 Corrected the stake held by Solidium.

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