Members of communities affected by Anglo American’s Minas Rio iron ore operations in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, blocked roads earlier this week in protest against the company’s withdrawal of funding for independent technical advice. Communities issued the following statement on Tuesday 25 August. Since then, in addition to dealing with the threatening presence of the police, some protesters are now also reportedly being sued by the company for supposedly ‘threatening’ company employees by blocking the roads.
Why are we protesting?
Anglo American’s mining venture has generated several negative impacts for all surrounding communities.
The environmental licensing process included Condition 39 that guarantees the hiring of Independent Technical Assistance for the communities.
The State Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development (SEMAD) of the government of Minas Gerais and Anglo American do not want to renew the contract for Technical Assistance for the communities of Sapo, Beco, Turco, and Cabeceira do Turco, and do not want to hire assistance for the communities of Agua Quente, Corregos, Gondo, Itapanhoacanga, Passa Sete, São José do Jassem, São Jose do Arruda, São José da Ilha, and Taporoco.
We demand the continuity of the technical assistance already in course for the communities of Turco, Cabeceira do Turco, Beco and Sapo, and the immediate hiring of the assistance already chosen by the communities of Água Quente, Corregos, Gondo, Itapanhoacanga, Passa Sete, São Jose do Jassem, São José do Arruda, São José da Ilha, and Taporoco.
We also demand the enactment of the Collective Agenda approved by the communities of Turco, Cabeceira do Turco, Beco, and Sapo.
We demand that the company commits to properly follow their Programa de Convivencia (Coexistence Program), as well as the principles of the Social Way, and basic principles and guidelines on expropriations/evictions/removals and displacements generated by the development.
We demand that the Public Prosecutor take immediate measures against non-compliance with Condition 39 in the criminal and accountability routes of SEMAD, due to administrative improbability.
Affected people of the communities of Turco, Cabeceira do Turco, Beco and Sapo.
(Portuguese text is below.)