Brazil: Unions want MNC to pay USD 7.5 b for 2019 dam collapse

BWI’s Dam Network and the social movements of Minas Gerais in Brasil called on multinational company (MNC) Vale to pay the government BRL 38 billion (USD 7.5 billion) to repair the damages caused by the collapse of its “Brumadinho” dam in January 2019, resulting in the death of 270 people, most of whom are members of the BWI-affiliated SITICOP-MG. 

Through an amendment of the law, the trade unions and social movements also called for the creation of a permanent " Dam and Mines Observatory” in Minas Gerais to guarantee the safety of the state’s dams and water systems through dam safety monitoring, better conditions for workers and communities, and the consistent implementation of impact diagnoses, risks and accident-prevention measures. This would reportedly cover more than 150 municipalities and 400 dams from Minas Gerais’ 25 cities. 

BWI Dam Network Coordinator and SITICOP MG Director Eduardo Armond said that they demand damages and compensation for the victims’ families and local communities affected by the dam collapse. “We fight to ensure the safety of workers and communities and prevent similar accidents from happening in the future,” he said. 

SITICOP MG said that mine dams, especially those managed by MNCs, often undermined workers’ and communities’ safety, bringing death and environmental destruction on an unimaginable scale. It said that the MNCs’ pursuit for unlimited profit from the value of raw materials and the public authorities’ omission of regulations have led to deadly catastrophes.