On November 5, 2015, yet another shocking and terrible report involving a large mining company and Vale S.A.
Two dams of the Samarco mining company Minera SA, a joint venture of Vale SA (50%) and BHP Billiton Brazil Ltda (50%), and also a recipient of waste from other mines of Vale SA in the region, including the Alegria mine, ruptured in the state of Minas Gerais, in Bento Rodrigues district, between the cities of Mariana and Ouro Preto.
The District is completely buried under toxic sludge, now the only possible access to the site is by helicopter. There are countless homeless families, and so far there are at least 16 dead, 45 missing and countless buried. The situation on the ground remains very serious and there is risk of new landslides. Initially, only the Bento Rodrigues district had been affected, but the flood of waste continues, reaching other districts and municipalities 60 km from the site. Continue reading Another trail of destruction and death in the history of mining and Vale S.A.→
More than a dozen people are feared dead after a dam holding back waste water from an iron ore mine in Brazil burst, flooding nearby homes.
Officials in south-eastern Minas Gerais state say one person is confirmed dead. But there are reports that up to 16 have died and others are missing.
Rivers of thick red mud surged down the valleys of the hilly area outside the old colonial city of Mariana.
It engulfed cars and lorries, and destroyed homes.
Authorities in Mariana said the dam had ruptured on Thursday afternoon and sent torrents of mud and debris into the small town of Bento Rodrigues, about 7km (four miles) away.
The BBC’s Julia Dias Carneiro in Rio de Janeiro said the area affected is home to about 500 people.
The rescue operation has been hampered by fears of landslides but helicopters have taken several stranded people to safety, she adds.
Authorities have warned that the water mixed with residue from mining operations could be toxic.
A spokesman for the Samarco mining company, which owns the dam, said the cause of the breach was not yet known.
For the past three years, Greenpeace Brazil has been collecting signatures in support of a bill to establish a zero deforestation law in the country. As a result, the group were able to present draft legislation to the Brazilian congress last week
On 7 October, accompanied by senators, religious leaders, celebrities and other supporters of a ban on the felling of Brazil’s forests, Greenpeace Brazil formally presented the draft legislation to the Brazilian congress – signed by 1.4 million Brazilians.
By Mario Osava
RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 2 2015 (IPS) – Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction program, hailed as bold, has nevertheless left environmentalists frustrated at its lack of ambition in key aspects.
“The decision to present absolute reduction targets is praiseworthy, but they could be better and more ambitious, to the benefit of the country itself and of the global climate change talks,” said André Ferretti, general coordinator of the Climate Observatory, a Brazilian network of 37 environmental groups.
On Sep. 27, President Dilma Rousseff announced at the Sep. 25-27 U.N. Sustainable Development Summit in New York that Brazil’s goal is to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 37 percent by 2025 and 43 percent by 2030, with a base year of 2005. “The weakest point in Brazil’s commitment is with respect to the forest question. It is demeaning to promise to end illegal deforestation by 2030, admitting that illegal practices will be tolerated for a decade and a half.” — André Ferretti
Peru is planning a series of huge hydroelectric dams on the 1,700-kilometer (1,056-mile) Marañón River, which begins in the Peruvian Andes and is the main source of the Amazon River. Critics say the mega-dam projects could destroy the currently free-flowing Marañón, resulting in what Peruvian engineer Jose Serra Vega calls its “biological death.”
In 2011, Peru passed a law declaring the construction of 20 dams on the main trunk of the Marañón to be in the “national interest” and that the projects will launch the country’s “long-term National Energy Revolution.” But many Peruvians following the issue believe the planned dams are less about meeting “national demand” for electricity as the law reads, and more about supplying mining companies, and exporting to neighboring countries. More…
The food crisis in Latin America is eroding the spending power of the new middle class, and with it, their optimism in the future of the region’s economy. In Latin America, the global food crisis has done more than just trigger protests and force governments to scramble for stopgap solutions. The crisis has begun to reverse the most positive regional trend of recent years: the decline of poverty and the nascent emergence of a new middle class. Continue reading Food Crisis Reverses Middle Class Trend in Latin America→