In Brazil, once again, the dam of an iron ore mine is broken. On 25th January 2019, about 12 million tons of contaminated waste were dumped at the village of Brumadinho in the mountains from Minas Gerais valley downwards.
The mudslide caused at least 186 people to die, and another 122 people are still missing. The mining complex, housing estates, rivers and tropical vegetation are covered with toxic mud up to 15 meters high.
The dam failure was not an accident, but a serious crime against humans, nature and animals.
The operator of the iron ore mine is the Brazilian group Vale, the largest iron ore producer in the world.
With an annual production of over 430 million (2016) tons of iron ore, Brazil is the second most important global iron ore producer after Australia.
The Brazilian Vale Group – with its international headquarters in Switzerland* – is the second-largest mining group and the largest iron ore exporter in the world, with more than $ 34 billion in sales in 2017.
Those responsible for the disaster are not only in Brazil, but also in Germany.
The TÜV Süd, headquartered in Munich, Germany, had certified the dam of the sedimentation basin as safe in September 2018.
We source a good 26 million tons of iron ore – about 58 percent of our imports – from Brazil each year. Corporations such as ThyssenKrupp, AcelorMittal and Salzgitter AG make steel from which German industry produces millions of cars, machinery, construction steel and many other consumer goods for us and for export to all over the world.
We can no longer ignore this: the federal government and the German economy must take responsibility for the supply chains. Both must ensure that environmental and safety standards as well as labor and human rights are respected in the production of raw materials.
Voluntary corporate commitments are not enough, we need binding regulations and laws. Please support the petition:
Image: Pilar Olivares / Reuters
Activists are also protesting on January 28, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro against the mining company “Vale”.
A black-clad woman appeared as a dead, more demonstrators revealed posters and described the walls with slogans such as “It was not an accident, it was a crime,” “murderer” and “justice for Brumadinho”.
About thirty activists have also demonstrated in front of the headquarters of the mining group Vale in Saint-Prex, Switzerland .
The demonstrators denounced the “catastrophic ecological and human consequences of the corporate greed”. They carried a muddy banner with the ironic inscription “Thank you for choosing Switzerland”!
My comment: * First, a correction in the text of the newspaper: The headquarters of the company is located in Brazil. So it is a Brazilian company with a branch in Switzerland. How and if Vale handles its entire tax revenue through Switzerland is still not researched and another dirty story.
We experience it every day, with almost every message: a gangster group gives the hand to the other gangster group. Governments and industry are a bunch of corrupt psychopaths who stop at nothing. Humans, nature and animals are the raw materials with which the billions are made.
But we all join it in our own way.
With our consumption, our indifference, our voluntary apathy, our indirect collaboration with systems and their allies.
We live in a time when every act, every decision, every participation is a political one, because over our heads there is a powerful system that is kept alive by us.
Animal welfare is also a political issue, we have to be vigilant.
Remember the petition: https://www.regenwald.org/petitionen/1168/stoppt-die-giftschwemme-in-brasilien
My best regards to all, Venus