On 25 January 2019 three iron-ore tailings dams collapsed at the Córrego do Feijão Mine, part of the Paraopeba Complex. The dam under the responsibility of the mining company Vale is in the municipality of Brumadinho, at the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. It is estimated that 14 million m³ of tailings spilled on the Paraopeba River, one of the main tributaries of the São Francisco River. Authorities say over 60 people have died and 300 people are still missing.
The evidence of yet another socio-environmental crime of incalculable size strikes us again. The public authority did not listen to the communities and acted in favor of corporate power to relax licensing norms and allowing the expansion of the dam complex in December 2018.
We at Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) understand that this is a continuing crime by Vale against the Brazilian people. Three years ago, another dam at the Samarco mine jointly owned by Vale and BHP Billiton burst: but no house was built, we do not know the number of people affected, there are no study on the impacts on health, women are not recognized as affected, among other environmental violations and rights of those affected. Up to date, the judiciary has not held any of the directors of the companies involved in the crime responsible and has not ensured the full reparation of the families. On the contrary, it has acted in punitive selectivity, criminalizing the struggles of families, popular movements and civil society organizations.
It is important to note that Vale SA was once a Brazilian company, but in the 1990s it was privatized. What we see today is a super powerful company that acts for the profit of shareholders but has no commitment to human life and the environment.
Once again, these large corporations enjoying full protection from governments demonstrate their affinity towards the maximising profit at the cost of the quality of life of people. There is no regional development, there is only destruction of lives and contamination of rivers and nature.
The MAB summons the Brazilian people, in the spirit of solidarity and social justice that moves us, to support the families affected by the burst of the Brumadinho dam. We are already in the region and we are moving many affected people from all over Brazil in this task of solidarity and support to the victims, along with so many others affected from the Rio Doce basin and the capixaba coast who have already volunteered their duty of comradery.
We continue to fight for justice in Mariana, in Brumadinho, in the Rio Doce basin, in the capixaba coast and in defense of the São Francisco.
We demand justice in this crime, so that the death of people, animals, rivers and the environment do not go unpunished again.
Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB)
WATERS FOR LIFE, NOT FOR DEATH