Rupture of mine reservoir brings disaster in Brazil


A deadly deluge of iron-ore waste equivalent in volume to 24,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools flattened a village in Brazil this month, then choked out aquatic life in a major river and threatened sea-turtle habitat in the middle of nesting season as its destructive plume reached the Atlantic Ocean. The spill of 62 million cubic meters of slurry occurred Nov. 5, when a mine reservoir burst in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira described the accident as “the country’s biggest environmental catastrophe,” and Ibama, her ministry’s enforcement arm, imposed the nation’s largest-ever environmental fine—R$250 million (US$67.3 million)—on the mine’s owner and operator, Samarco Mineração. The deluge killed 12 people and left 11 others... [Log in to read more]

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