London Mining Network (LMN) Solidarity Statement

London Mining Network (LMN) has drafted this declaration to express solidarity with the populations affected by the collapse of the Fundão dam in Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil. This 5 November marks the fifth anniversary of this crime. Since that date, there have been continuous violations of human rights and consequent lack of socio-environmental justice. To this day, the scale of the impact of the collapse of the tailings dam and the scarce data regarding the levels of contamination of soil, rivers, fauna and flora are still unknown. 

We at LMN condemn the fact that the Samarco company has not yet been properly held responsible for the dam’s collapse, nor for its immeasurably destructive consequences. The company is a joint venture of Vale, a private Brazilian mining company, with BHP, an Anglo-Australian mining company listed on the London Stock Exchange and with an important office in London. As a network of organisations concerned about the impacts of London-based mining companies, we stand together with the affected communities, their associations and social movements for the right to say no to activities that compromise their fundamental rights such as access to land and water and to live with dignity according to their own ways of life. Not even in the midst of the current pandemic have these mining companies taken serious or structural initiatives to contain the advance of coronavirus in the communities in which they operate. Moreover, the recent refusal to renew the services of the Independent Technical Advisory (ATI), which is a breach of its legal obligations, is another example of violations of rights committed by the Samarco joint venture (Vale/BHP). The informed and qualified participation of affected communities in the diagnosis of the damage during the five years since the dam collapsed is of vital importance for these communities’ autonomy and, therefore, ensuring the ATI’s assistance must be considered as one of the pillars of this process.

One of our most urgent concerns is to assess the physical and mental impacts on members of communities affected by the contamination of the Rio Doce basin. We at LMN agree with the report of the National Coordination of the MAB (Movement of People Affected by Dams) in its statement that “profit is not worth life”. This principle continues to be neglected by mining companies. We therefore condemn the neocolonial greed of accumulation through mining as it neglects human deaths and ignores the environmental devastation that also murders Nature in the long run, as in the case of the river itself. 

We endorse the initiative taken by the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) to organise food distribution in order to counter food insecurity amid the challenges presented by the current pandemic. However, we demand complementary and substantial actions from local, regional and national government authorities as well as from the mining companies responsible for the crime in question. As another form of support, we will also be publicising some of the materials developed by our friends in Brazil that illustrate the dramatic situation of these communities. Whether participating in virtual activities, producing statements or posts on our social networks, or pressuring authorities through legal or investment channels, we at LMN condemn the Samarco (Vale/BHP) joint venture for five years of injustices without reparations for those living in the communities of the Rio Doce basin. 

Solidarity greetings,
London Mining Network (LMN)