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Mining Environmental Disasters in North and South America: The Current Practices and the Way Forward

  • Odile Schwarz-HerionEmail author
  • Abdelnaser Omran
Chapter

Abstract

Mining refers to the exploration for and removal of minerals from the earth as essential major sources of energy and materials. Mining often involves major risks for the natural environment and residents by air and water pollution from chemicals and heavy metals. Therefore, the environmental and social responsibility of mining operators includes protection of the air, land, water, and humans by sustainable mining practices and disaster prevention. The risks of mining are especially high in developing nations and takeoff countries with lax safety standards. In recent years, two dramatic mining disasters happened in Latin America. In August 2014, a copper mine owned by Grupo México’s subsidiary Buenavista del Cobre spilled 10.5 million gallons of copper sulfate acid into Mexico’s public waterways. In November 2015, in Minas Gerais state, Brazil, the Fundão backwater dam burst at an opencast mine which was run by Samarco and another dam ruptured, sending a wave of chemically hazardous sludge throughout the nearby regions, killing 20 persons, causing enormous social, environmental, and economic damage. Taking these disasters as case studies, this chapter will review the failures of the mining industry in Latin America which led to these disasters while offering some suggestions on how to avert such disasters in the future.

Keywords

Mining disasters Environmental and social responsibility Buenavista del Cobre Grupo México Fundão backwater dam Samarco Disaster prevention Sustainable mining practices 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dres. Schwarz-Herion KG Detective AgencyEttlingenGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering SciencesBright Star UniversityEl-bregaLibya

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