In Oriximiná there are about 10,000 quilombolas living in small rural communities distributed over eight collective territories that add up to 9,831 km2 of forests, still very preserved. Black people arrived in this region in the 19th century fleeing slavery. There, they founded autonomous communities known as quilombos, where they remained even after the abolition of slavery.
Agricultural activities, subsistence fishing and hunting, and extractivism of forest products such as Brazil nuts, guarantee the survival of the quilombolas who live in collective territories. The forest is fundamental to secure the life of this population, and the commercialisation of a series of non-timber forest products is its main source of income. Besides fish, the rivers guarantee water for consumption, bath, and washing of clothes, since there is no water supply system.
The quilombolas and the riparians point out one of the main socio-environmental consequences of 40 years of bauxite: changes in watercourses. Local communities report restriction of access to drinking water, the emergence of new diseases (affecting mainly children and women) and the reduction of fish stock.
Since 2013, one of the Quilombola territories has been mined with the permission of the Brazilian government, but without free, prior and informed consent of the quilombolas, without a plan to mitigate the impacts for this population or agreement on compensation for damages. The situation can be aggravated as Mineração Rio do Norte plans to expand its extraction covering other quilombola areas.