A new ruling released on Tuesday, from the Federal Regional Justice in Altamira, placed the permitting authority of the environmental and construction licenses for Belo Sun’s Volta Grande gold mine in Pará, Brazil, in the hands of Federal Environment Agency (IBAMA) rather than Pará’s state environmental agency (SEMAS).

 The ruling represents the latest legal roadblock facing Volta Grande, as the company has faced numerous challenges to getting permissions to move forward with the project. The company says that their licenses remain valid — following its completion of its data collection and consultation with Indigenous communities — but said that they are seeking clarification from the Federal Justice, IBAMA and SEMAS.

  In June 2014, a federal judge suspended Belo Sun’s environmental licence, stating that the company had not adequately considered the impact that the project would have on local Indigenous peoples. The decision was overturned in the Federal Court of Appeal in August of the same year.

 In April 2017 Volta Grande had its construction licence suspended, for much the same reasons as the previous case, with the Brazilian Federal Regional Court suspending the licence until the Indigenous study was approved by the Indigenous Affairs Agency of Brazil (Funai). At the time, Belo Sun stated that they had already completed an Indigenous study “in accordance with the best practices related to indigenous affairs.”

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, president and CEO of Belo Sun, Peter Tagliamonte, stated that, “Belo Sun is happy to work with both IBAMA and/or SEMAS in its permitting process as well as with the local municipality, communities and Indigenous groups, with a goal of building the Volta Grande project for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

 The state government said that they will be appealing the decision, as they claim the permitting authority belongs to the state and not the federal government, O’ Globo reports. Currently, the permitting authority is in the hands of the federal government.

 Agnico Eagle, who had a 19.41 per cent stake in Belo Sun, announced on April 20, 2018, that it would be divesting of its more than 89,000,000 shares in the company it originally purchased back in May 2015.

 Belo Sun claims that Volta Grande would be the biggest gold mine in South America, and is expected to produce an estimated 205,000 ounces of gold per year.