Brazil: 5 years after the Brumadinho disaster, investors must hold company Vale accountable

Open Letter
Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama - Wikimedia Commons

On the fifth anniversary of the Brumadinho dam disaster that claimed 270 lives in Brazil, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has joined a civil society coalition engaging investors in Vale, the mining company that could have prevented this tragedy and must still render justice to victims and their families.

25 January 2024. On the fifth anniversary of the Brumadinho dam disaster, FIDH is one of 13 civil society organisations launching a global coalition to engage with investors in Vale, the company responsible for Brazil’s worst environmental and industrial disaster. In a letter marking the catastrophic event, NGOs invite investors to go beyond company reports and come see the situation for themselves on the ground.

On 25 January 2019, a tailings dam at the Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine (9 kilometres east of Brumadinho, in the state of Minas Gerais) collapsed, releasing a mudflow that engulfed the mine’s headquarters and its downstream surroundings and caused the death of 270 workers. The dam was owned by the mining company Vale, which was also involved in the 2015 Mariana dam disaster.

Five years later, Vale still has to honour its commitment to repairing the damage it has caused and providing justice to affected families and communities. The latter live in a heavily contaminated environment and are afraid that another mining disaster could happen at any time: 27 dams are operating under emergency protocols and two dams are at risk of rupture.

FIDH and its partners wrote to investors to re-evaluate their engagement with Vale in light of its role in the Brumadinho tragedy and to join a springtime visit to the site to speak to local organisations and representatives and witness the long-lasting impacts of the burst and current mining issues which would be preventable.

Read the full letter below.

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