Increasingly in many countries, the instrument of ‘public hearings’ further serves to legitimatise corporate projects with negative impacts. The government of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais granted, despite of a ‘public hearing’, a license to the mining giant Anglo-American to operate its Minas-Rio iron ore mining project. This has caused strong indignation among local populations who have already been severely impacted by and resisting the mine's activities. The massive project includes extraction of the ore as well as a 525-kilometer pipeline to a port in the Rio de Janeiro state. A resident denounced the ‘official act’ of the hearing as a “simulation of democracy by conceding this operation licence to a criminal mining company”, and accused the company of “consciously promoting and planning social suffering as well as (…) the crime of environmental racism”.
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