Avoiding tailings dam collapses requires governance, partnership and responsibility
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On November 5th, 2015, 50 million m3 of mining tailings were spilled after a dam collapse in Mariana, south-eastern Brazil. The toxic waste destroyed the entire village of Bento Rodrigues, killed 19 people, and compromised the livelihood and welfare of hundreds more people living in the Doce River watershed (Escobar 2015). Eventually, the tailings reached the Atlantic Ocean, leaving in their wake a trail of sterilised aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (Queiroz et al. 2018). After a tragedy of such immense scale, National and State congressmen proposed more rigorous legislation to prevent further tailings storage facility failures. However, on January 25th, 2019, another dam collapsed at the Córrego do Feijão Mine near Brumadinho. Another 12 million m3of tailings was spilled, this time in the Paraopeba watershed. Although a smaller amount of toxic waste was released, the human tragedy is set to eclipse that of the Mariana tragedy: so far 212 people have lost their lives, and nearly...
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