This report is part of our former “Harmful Cases” documentation, where we continuously and concisely recorded human rights violations, violations of international law or environmental destruction caused by companies.
On 5 November 2015 a dam in Brazilian state of Minas Gerais burst its banks resulting in 6 deaths and 631 injured. 21 people are still missing ((Businessspectator.com.au: BHP Vale dam burst toll rises, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2015/11/11/resources-and-energy/bhp-vale-dam-burst-toll-rises. , 11.11.2015, called on 11.11.2015)). The cause of the overflow of water, mud and mineral waste from the mine is still being investigated. The mine is jointly by BHP Billiton and Vale SA, and operated by the mining company Samarco. ((Wirtschaftsblatt.at: Mines Group BHP Billiton checked after dam break in Brazil Forecast, http://wirtschaftsblatt.at/home/boerse/europa/4862049/MinenKonzern-BHP-Billiton-uberpruft-nach-Dammbruch-in-Brasilien, 09/11/2015, called on 10.11.2015)). The water and mud have reached and devastated a village (Bento Rodrigues) 7 km away. ((mining.com: Several casualties feared after tailings dam bursts in Brazil, http://www.mining.com/several-casualties-after-tailings-dam-bursts-in-brazil/?utm_source=digest-en-mining-151106, 05/11/2015, called on 11.11.2015)) There is a risk that there will be further landslides to come ((atingidospelavale.wordpress.com:. English – another trail of destruction and death in the history of mining at Vale SA – Note by The International Articulation of People Affected by Vale SA, https://atingidospelavale.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/english-another-trail-of-destruction-and-death-in-the-history-of-mining-and-vale-s-a/, 07/11/2015, called on 10.11.2015)). The majority of the inhabitants of the village have been housed in temporary shelters and examined for potential health problems. There are reports of toxic chemicals in the mud, which Samarco denies. An investigation into the causes of the spill has been initiated by the prosecution. Although the causes are still unknown, stricter regulations for mining companies in Brazil is now being discussed ((wirtschaftsblatt.at: Mines Group BHP Billiton checked after dam break in Brazil Forecast, http://wirtschaftsblatt.at/home/boerse/europa/4862049/MinenKonzern-BHP-Billiton-uberpruft-nach-Dammbruch-in-Brasilien, 09/11/2015, called on 10.11.2015)).
Here’s a video showing the extent of the dam break.