Water purification technology born here is used to help disaster victims
Canada has a complicated history with Brazil. Much of our shared experience is written in the language of commerce and has been controversial to the point of bitterness. But those are big-picture issues.
Scale the focus down and, as often is the case, smaller relationships create space for support and compassion. Peterborough is now part of just such a story, a reminder that people with open minds and hearts can find ways to cross international boundaries.
This story began in January when a huge tailing pond dam at Brumadinho in south-west Brazil collapsed. A torrent of mud and waste water from an iron mine swept away an entire section of rural Brumadinho, population 40,000. At least 300 people died.
Marcelo Konig Sarkis was moved to act. Sarkis is a Brazilian native who now lives in Peterborough and has based his intellectual property consulting firm here. He has ties to both the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the local Innovation Cluster, where he helps new businesses get up and running.
The iron mine at Brumadinho is owned by Vale, a Brazilian multinational that is the world’s largest iron and nickel producer. Vale is best known in Canada for taking over Inco and its iconic nickel operation in Sudbury. Canada’s claim as a world leader in mining has never been as strong since. Vale also owns the huge Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit in Newfoundland.