Gerdau has been prohibited from expanding activities in the Serra da Moeda-based Várzea do Lopes mining complex after a Brazilian judge suspended an environmental regulator’s previous decision.
The judge ordered the suspension because the steelmaker considered including a pile of mining unprocessed mining waste, the Minas Gerais state court of justice said in a statement. The expansion project is part of the company’s plan to invest BRL 1.5bn ($277.4mn) in Minas Gerais State.
The state council for environmental policy (Copam), part of Minas Gerais state’s environmental regulator, allowed Gerdau earlier this year to expand its complex. However, the court has now given Copam 30 days to appeal decision and include evidence, the statement read.
Gerdau, a Brazilian steelmaker, reduced its crude steel production by 17pc to 5.6mn mt in H1 2020 from 6.7mn mt in H1 2019, because of a moratorium on activity at its mills during the COVID-19-related lockdowns this past spring.
Brazil’s crude steel production increased by 3.5pc to 2.59mn mt in July from 2.50mn mt last year, according to the latest figures from the Brazilian Steel Institute. Long steel production also increased by 10.6pc to 809,000mt from 731,000mt.