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Monday, March 1, 2021

Brazilian mine agreed to pay compensation to Brumadinho victims !!

Covid 19 is still threatening some parts of the globe.  Overall 10,48,86,168 people have been affected.  The gap between India and USA is widening – difference of 1.59 crores as of date.  USA has the highest no. of deaths at 455805, India has 154823, while Brazil has 228795 – Covid deaths thus far.  In India, the once acclaimed state of Kerala is the 2nd highest after Maharashtra – and has the highest of numbers per day.

The Brazilian government announced recently that  it was negotiating the purchase of 30 million coronavirus vaccine doses from Russia and India, after regulators made it easier for the treatments to win emergency-use authorizations. Until now, only the AstraZeneca/Oxford shot and China's CoronaVac have been permitted in Brazil, the second-hardest-hit country after the US. Brazil's health surveillance agency said it would no longer require final Phase 3 trials to be carried out in Brazil, clearing the way for the emergency authorization of the vaccinations.

Brazillian President Jair Bolsonaro last month  thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for coronavirus vaccines. India, one of world's biggest drug manufacturers is already helping several countries by providing them coronavirus vaccines. In his tweet, Bolsonaro included an image of Lord Hanuman bringing the 'Sanjivani booti' from India to Brazil. Taking a leaf from ithihasa Ramayana,  Bolsonaro's tweet, showed the 'Sanjivani Booti' as the COVID vaccine. The Brazillian President tweeted in Portuguese, "Namaskar, Primeiro Ministro @narendramodi- O Brasil sente-se honrado em ter um grande parceiro para superar um obstáculo global. Obrigado por nos auxiliar com as exportações de vacinas da Índia para o Brasil.- Dhanyavaad! धनयवाद," which can be roughly translated to English, "Namaskar, Prime Minister @narendramodi- Brazil is honored to have a great partner to overcome a global obstacle. Thank you for helping us with vaccine exports from India to Brazil.- Dhanyavaad! धनयवाद" . 

Brumadinho is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais. Brumadinho is at an altitude of 880 m.The municipality is on the Paraopeba River. The Inhotim Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the most important art venues of Brazil, is in the city. Brumadinho was settled in 1689. On January 25, 2019, the city was the victim of a tailings dam collapse that killed 270 people. The disaster released a mudflow that advanced over houses in a rural area near the city. A tailings dam is typically an earth-fill embankment dam used to store byproducts of mining operations after separating the ore from the gangue. Tailings can be liquid, solid, or a slurry of fine particles, and are usually highly toxic and potentially radioactive. Solid tailings are often used as part of the structure itself.

According to the national registry of the National Mining Agency, the Córrego do Feijão dam, built in 1976 by the Ferteco Mineração and acquired by the iron ore miner Vale in 2001, was classified as a small structure with low risk of high potential damage.  Vale S.A. is a Brazilian multinational corporation engaged in metals and mining and one of the largest logistics operators in Brazil. Vale, formerly Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (the Sweet River Valley Company, referring to the Doce River), is the largest producer of iron ore and nickel in the world.

The company has had two catastrophic tailings dam failures in Brazil: Mariana, in 2015, and Brumadinho, in 2019; the Brumadinho dam disaster caused the company to lose its license to operate eight tailings dams in Minas Gerais,  and its stock to lose nearly 25 percent in value. The Brumadinho dam disaster occurred on 25 January 2019 when Dam I, a tailings dam at the Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) east of Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil, suffered a catastrophic failure. The dam released a mudflow that advanced through the mine's offices, including a cafeteria during lunchtime, along with houses, farms, inns, and roads downstream. 270 people died as a result of the collapse !

Now comes the news that the  Brazilian mining giant Vale has agreed to pay $7bn compensation for a deadly dam collapse that killed 272 people. At just after noon that day the tailing dam’s sudden collapse caused a toxic torrent of mining waste to sweep across a rural pocket of Minas Gerais state at speeds of up to 80km/h, swallowing everything in its path. Many of the dead were Vale employees and 11 victims were never found. On Thursday, just over two years later, Minas Gerais’s governor, Romeu Zema, announced Vale had agreed to pay the state R$37.68bn (£5bn/$7bn) in what he claimed was “Latin America’s biggest reparation package”. “We did it!” Zema tweeted, adding that the multibillion-dollar settlement would not affect criminal or civil claims relating to the collapse’s human and environmental cost.

“We can’t change the past but we can improve the future,” Zema added, according to the newspaper Estado de São Paulo. In a statement Vale’s chief executive, Eduardo Bartolomeo, said: “Vale is committed to fully repair and compensate the damage caused by the tragedy in Brumadinho and to increasingly contribute to the improvement and development of the communities in which we operate. “We know that we have work to do and we remain firm in that purpose,” Bartolomeo added. The deal was reportedly less than the R$54bn Minas Gerais had been demanding from Vale over the disaster in Brumadinho, a town of about 40,000 inhabitants just southwest of the state capital Belo Horizonte. But Zema claimed the funds would help repair the local economy and environment, both battered by the mining disaster. Civil society groups and the families of some victims were less convinced, pointing out that a large chunk of the settlement would be used to finance infrastructure projects in other parts of the state.

Sad so many lives were lost on that day due to settlement collapse !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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