Brumadinho disaster vigil

Vigil outside Brazil Embassy to remember those killed in mining waste dam disaster.


dam containing iron ore mining waste collapsed on 25 January 2019 near the Brazilian town of Brumadinho, in the state of Minas Gerais. 

Some 11.7m cubic metres of toxic sludge burst its banks, killing 272 people. Fourteen people are still missing.

Vigils and marches are being held across Brazil and beyond to mark the first anniversary of the disaster. A coalition of organisations including London Mining Network, Brazilians for Democracy UK, War on Want and Global Justice Now will be holding a remembrance vigil, reading out the names of those who died, holding a minute’s silence, and sharing testimonies and the demands of those affected by the dam collapse.

The Anniversary Vigil for Brumadinho will be held on Friday 24 January, 4-6pm, Embassy of Brazil, 14-16 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5BL

Collective losses

Brazilian mining giant Vale owns the Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine and dam in Brumadinho. It is just 75 miles from the Fundão iron ore mine and dam, also in the state of Minas Gerais, which collapsed in November 2015.

Vale and British-Australian mining company BHP jointly owned this dam and 20 people died in what was Brazil’s worst environmental tragedy to date.

In the aftermath of Brumadinho, some major mining industry investors in the UK, such as the Church of England pensions board, disinvested from Vale and began developing an Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative to record data on tailings dams from around the world, although this has limitations due to its reliance on self-reporting.

However, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) are attempting to water down standards that this initiative is attempting to introduce. 

Brumadinho resident and member of Movement of Water and Mountains, Marcela Rodrigues, said: “On 25 January 2019 I lost my father and my friends. Many family members worked and work for mining companies.

"We have tried to make an inventory of our collective losses but nothing can measure our feelings and our suffering. Everywhere I go I carry with me 272 pictures of people who died at Brumadinho and their stories and suffering. 272 people represents one percent of the population, so everyone knows someone who was killed in the dam collapse.

"I try to transform my suffering into a fight. Some communities do not even have access to water and are not recognised by Vale as affected. Agriculture is also suffering. I see that the collapse of the dam is only a part of the damage mining is causing to our communities.”

This Author 

Marianne Brooker is The Ecologist's content editor. This article is based on a press release from War on Want and London Mining Network. 

The Anniversary Vigil for Brumadinho will be held on Friday 24 January, 4-6pm, Embassy of Brazil, 14-16 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5BL

Image: Richard Kaby/LMN.

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