ANALYSIS-Can mining clean up its act to meet soaring demand for green metals? – by Jack Graham (Thomson Reuters Foundation – January 27, 2023)

LONDON, Jan 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In January 2019, a tailings dam from an iron ore mine burst near the southeast Brazilian town of Brumadinho, unleashing a deadly avalanche of muddy waste that killed an estimated 270 people.

The anniversary of the disaster – Jan. 25 – is a painful day for Angelica Amanda Andrade, whose sister Natalia died aged 32. “My life changed completely four years ago,” said Andrade, 28, a teacher who is campaigning for safer mining practices on behalf of her community.

She is calling for compensation for the victims’ families from the company that owned the dam, Vale SA – where her sister was working – as well as greater transparency and criminal convictions against the individuals responsible.

In July 2019, a court in Minas Gerais state convicted the company for the damages caused. Two months later, the state’s parliamentary commission found that Vale was aware of the risks of the structure breaking yet continued operating and failed to adopt measures that could have prevented the tragedy.

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