Vigil for Brazil’s communities affected by Brumadinho disaster

In sadness and rage, please join us outside the Embassy of Brazil in solidarity with the communities affected by Brazil’s Brumadinho tailings dam disaster on Wednesday 6th February.

On Friday January 25th, in the state of Minas Gerais, 12 million cubic metres of mining waste surged through the Brumadinho valley, covering homes, farmland, livestock, and people, in the process. Toxic sludge, up to eight metres deep, has been left in its wake.

The death toll stands at 110, with over 200 people still missing. Nobody has been found alive since Saturday.


We will be holding Brazilian mining company Vale and the Brazilian government to account outside the Embassy of Brazil. We will read out the testimonies and immediate demands of affected communities. We will also be lighting candles and remembering those who have died, those still missing and their loved ones.

Please bring candles and jars and wrap up warm.

Co-hosted by London Mining Network, Brazilian Women Against Fascism UK, War on Want, Yes to Life No to Mining, Decolonising Environmentalism, and Democracy for Brasil-UK.

Please get in contact with any questions at contact@londonminingnetwork.org and share widely. We hope to see you there.

Background…

The Brumadinho tailings dam disaster is not a one-off tragic accident. This is the second tailings dam collapse to happen in Brazil in just over three years. In November 2015, 78 miles away in Mariana, also in the state of Minas Gerais, millions of tonnes of toxic waste swept through the Rio Doce, devastating communities in its wake. 19 people were killed.

The 2015 dam was owned by Samarco, a subsidiary of Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP, and Brazilian company Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore.

Last Friday’s dam is also owned by Vale. For the same ‘accident’ to happen twice in three years is nothing short of corporate manslaughter.

These dam collapses were preventable, had there been stricter regulation and state oversight, and had Vale and BHP not enjoyed impunity following the Sarmarco disaster, for which victims are still awaiting justice.

Vale isn’t listed on the London Stock Exchange (BHP is), but it does have links with the city as a number of British pension funds invest in Vale on US stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange.

This means that we in the UK have a responsibility and an opportunity to demand: tighter regulation of mining companies, harsher penalties for putting profit over people, and a commitment – rather than lip service – from all mining companies that this avoidable catastrophe never happens again.

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