A demolished home lies in ruins after a dam collapsed near Brumadinho, Brazil, on Friday, the day after the dam failure.

A solemn message to the residents of Hoyt Lakes, Aurora, Meadowlands, Floodwood, Brookston, Cloquet, Scanlon, Carlton, Thomson, Wrenshall, Duluth, Superior WI, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Canada and most of all, Lake Superior, please seriously heed the warnings in the message below.

 

Even state-of-the-art mine tailings ponds that use earthen dam walls (especially if they are intended to grow to become 250 feet tall like PolyMet’s!!) are subject to sudden, unexpected – and very catastrophic – breaches that could easily destroy for a generation every living thing in the watershed downstream. Even tributaries can be contaminated and even destroyed in the sudden deluge that can reverse the flow of the creeks temporarily.

 

And be warned that foreign multinational mining corporations – just like every other profit-minded, multinational corporation that anybody can think of - has their profits as their number one goal; the long-term adverse environmental effects from their mining operations be damned!

 

Foreign multinational mining corporations have poisoned the environment – sometimes gradually, sometimes catastrophically - wherever on the planet they have extracted their minerals – NO EXCEPTIONS.

 

The giant multinational mining corporations Vale, BHP Billiton and Samarco (that have extensive operations in Brazil) have again demonstrated to the world why they can’t be trusted, for just yesterday (January 25, 2019) they have perpetrated another environmental catastrophe.

 

Read on and understand that similar disasters could (and probably will) happen downstream from the PolyMet/NorthMet/Glencore sulfuric acid-producing copper mine whose tailings pond dam is scheduled to rise to an eventually unstable height of 250 feet !!

 

Far more communities than the dozen towns named above could be devastated irreparably, despite what the starry-eyed and bamboozled (and/or paid off by political contributions) politicians like Senator Klobuchar, Senator Smith, US House member Stauber, ex-US House member Nolan, and practically every politician from either major political party that one can think of. The high potential for sudden environmental disasters similar to Samarco, Mount Polley (British Columbia) and now Brumadinho, Brazil (plus a hundred others since global mineral extractions by huge corporations began).

 

“ALL tailings "ponds" are a problem. If they don't breach and spill massive amounts of toxic sludge into the environment like at Mount Polley, they leach that contamination slowly, poisoning the waters and lands (and aquifers)around them for centuries.” -- From: http://canadians.org/blog/update-mount-polley-mine-disaster-imperial-metals-and-government-focus-covering-instead.

 

Before reading further, click on https://www.minnpost.com/sites/default/files/attachments/St%20Louis%20River%20watershed%20map.pdf to examine what comprises the St Louis River watershed, considered sacred by our native American forerunners.

The photo below is the mouth of the Rio Doce River (where it enters the Atlantic Ocean) a few days after all the fish died as the river was being catastrophically poisoned by the toxic mine waste that had been stored in the tailings pond 300 miles upstream – until the earthen dam dissolved. The poisoned water flowed far into the ocean and the previously lucrative fishing industry was destroyed. The Samarco/Vale dam tailings pond dissolved in November of 2015. Commercial fishing in the vicinity of the Rio Doce fishing is still forbidden three years later.

It shouldn’t be necessary to point out to intelligent politicians, thinking voters, fishermen and those visitors that appreciate a pristine St Louis River estuary that something very similar could easily happen to Lake Superior and all the little communities upstream from Duluth and Superior.

Every sovereign state (Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan), every sovereign indigenous nation and every soverieign Canadian province that regards Lake Superior as either sacred or at least a valuable resource needs to demand that Governor Walz, Minnesota’s DNR, the PCA, the US Forest Service, the IRRRB and both political parties put an emergency hold on all permits that have previously tentatively granted permission for the foreign mining corporations, PolyMet and Glencore to proceed with their dangerous plans. – GGK

 

Rio Doce affected by mud and tailings of environmental disaster in 2015

 

The mine-contaminated mouth of the Rio Doce as it enters the Atlantic Ocean

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Jan 25, 2019

200 of the 300 mining employees that were on-site at the time of the earthen dam collapse, missing after Brazilian mining company's tailings dam walls suddenly dissolve and the dam empties

January 25, 20194:49 PM ET

IAN STEWART

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/25/688803282/200-people-reportedly-missing-after-brazilian-mining-companys-dam-collapses

 

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https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2019/01/25/ap_19025726618746_wide-50ccba0b89de605c01af8de93363a89370806e0e-s1200-c85.jpg

 

A demolished home lies in ruins after a dam collapsed near Brumadinho, Brazil, on Friday, the day after the dam failure.

 

Leo Drumond/AP - Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

 

Officials say some 200 people are missing near the southeast Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte after a tailings dam owned by a mining company (Vale) collapsed Friday, unleashing a torrent of muddy waste and debris.

The mayor of Brumadinho, where the dam is located, said seven bodies had been recovered and that he expects the death toll to rise, according to Reuters.

At least four people have been hospitalized according to the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. The dam is owned by the mining giant Vale, which also operates a nearby iron ore mine.

Vale's CEO, Fábio Schvartsman, said roughly 300 workers were on site at the time of the rupture and that at least two-thirds of them are unaccounted for.

 

Video footage from the site showed a helicopter rescue crew hovering over a wide field of reddish-brown mud, struggling to pull victims free

Rescue operations under way in Brazil's Minas Gerais after a mining dam broke in #Brumadinho, near Belo Horizonte.https://twitter.com/em_com/status/1088832558987657216 …

 

The river of sludge forced the evacuation of some residents. This local TV footage shows a rescue mission. #Brumadinho

 

11:44 AM - Jan 25, 2019

 

Embedded video

Helicopter trying to extract a survivor from the tailings sludge that drowned and buried hundreds of other less fortunate mine workers

 

In a statement, Vale confirmed the dam breach at the Feijão Mine in Minas Gerais state. It's not clear why the dam ruptured.

 

"The first information indicates that the tailings has reached the companies administrative area and part of the Vila Ferteco community," it said.

Schvartsman has apologized for the disaster, calling it "unacceptable," according to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo. He said that the dam was stable but in the process of being decommissioned. The company says it has initiated its "emergency plan for dams."

 

Before and after photos of the area show a wide expanse of trees, fields, roads and buildings leveled by the river of sludge.

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/1004666132253507584/gTEhhS7D_bigger.jpg

O secretário adjunto de Saúde de Brumadinho, Geraldo do Carmo, disse que funcionários da Vale relataram, por telefone, ter visto a lama atingir a portaria e o refeitório, no horário do almoço. No entanto, ainda não há confirmação sobre o número de feridos: https://bbc.in/2COmgpR 

Vista aérea da região de Brumadinho

Barragem em Brumadinho: o que se sabe sobre o rompimento até agora

Depósito de rejeitos da mineradora Vale se rompeu na tarde desta sexta-feira; município de Brumadinho fica na zona metropolitana de Belo Horizonte. Comunidade foi atingida, mas ainda não há informa...

bbc.com

 

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BBC News Brasil

✔@bbcbrasil

 

ANTES E DEPOIS em #Brumadinho: imagens aéreas e do Google Earth mostram o impacto do rompimento da barragem da Vale, em Minas Gerais: https://bbc.in/2COmgpR  pic.twitter.com/Kc2QGpELm0

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In 2015, 19 people were killed when another Brazilian dam overseen by Vale — along with the mining company BHP Billiton — collapsed, according to the AP. It was described as the worst environmental disaster in the country's history, causing widespread contamination of waterways. The companies reached a multibillion-dollar settlement last year with Brazilian authorities over the collapse.

That dam reportedly had a far greater capacity than the one that collapsed Friday.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's recently-elected president, announced on Twitter that he was sending his Secretary of Civil Defense and his environmental minister to the scene, along with other top officials; Bolsonaro will travel to the affected area on Saturday.

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Dam in Brumadinho: the photos before and after the break

·       https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/brasil-47004305- Before and after the dam broke in Brumadinho, Brazil

·       January 25, 2019 - 9 hours ago

 

 

CBMMG

 

Beginning of 2019

Google Maps

 

 

Rejects released by a dam breaking in the municipality of Brumadinho, which is part of the metropolitan area of ​​Belo Horizonte (MG), reached residences and the company's administrative area, known as Córrego do Feijão Mine. At least 200 people are missing, according to the Fire Department.

The mining company Vale, owner of the dam,said there were employees of the company in the cafeteria at the time of the disruption. The distance between the mining company's headquarters and the dam that broke is about 1.6 km.

On BBC News Brazil, the city's deputy health secretary, Geraldo Rodrigues do Carmo, said that the so-called Vila Ferteco, which is also hit, houses homes and sites, but is not very populous. The region was evacuated.

 

Aerial view of Brumadinho region

area affected by the tailings, in the image made by the Minas Firefighters Corps

According to the spokesman of the Presidency of the Republic, Otávio Santana do Rêgo Barros, President Jair Bolsonaro intends to go to the site on Saturday at 8am. "Our greatest concern at the moment is to address any victims of this serious tragedy," wrote Bolsonaro on Twitter.

The breakup in Brumadinho occurs three years after another Vale dam in the Mariana region (MG) broke down. 19 people died and three districts - Bento Rodrigues, Paracatu de Baixo and Gesteira - were destroyed. 

Administered by Vale's subsidiary Samarco, the Fundão dam released 34 million cubic meters of ore tailings, which fell 55 km along the Gualaxo do Norte River to the Carmo River and another 22 to Rio Doce.

The mud avalanche covered 663 km of water courses and reached 39 municipalities in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo - the country's biggest environmental disaster.

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Dam in Brumadinho: what is known until now about the rupture

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·       January 25, 2019

 

CBMMG

 

After the deluge

 

Google Maps

 

Before the deluge

 

The Minas Gerais state government said on Friday night that at least seven people had died and about 150 were missing after a mining dam in Vale de Brumadinho , part of the metropolitan area of ​​Belo Horizonte, broke off .

In a statement, the Minas Gerais government says about 100 people who were stranded were rescued. According to the agency, Vale reported that at the time of the accident there were 427 people at the scene, of whom 279 were rescued alive.

At a news conference, Vale's president, Fabio Schvartsman, said company officials make up the majority of those affected by the dam's disruption.

Three years ago, in November of 2015, another dam of the company in Minas Gerais, in the region of Mariana, also broke, killing 19 people.

·        

§  Three years after Mariana's tragedy, residents of the region struggle to survive

§  Without compensation, victims of Mariana fish in contaminated area and already accumulate $ 833,000 in fines

In a statement issued shortly after the disruption, the miner reported that the tailings released by the dam reached the company's administrative area at the site, known as Mina Córrego do Feijão. The mud also affected part of the Vila Ferteco community, nearby. Both are 18 km from the center of Brumadinho.

"The rescue and care of the wounded are being carried out in the area by the Fire Brigade and Civil Defense. There is still no confirmation as to the cause of the accident," the company said.

"Vale has activated the Fire Department and activated its Emergency Response Plan for Dams. Vale's overall priority at this moment is to preserve and protect the lives of employees and community members," the statement continued.

Images taken at the scene of the accident on TV Record show people being rescued in the mud, with the help of a helicopter. According to the Hospital Foundation of the State of Minas Gerais, four victims, three women and one man, were being treated at the Hospital João XXIII in Belo Horizonte.

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Map

 

Satellite photo of the area before the breach

Brumadinho's deputy health secretary, Geraldo Rodrigues do Carmo, told BBC News Brazil that employees of the mining company reported on the phone that he had seen the mud reaching the porch and the lunchroom at lunchtime. Still in agreement with Carmo, besides concentrating the administration of Vale, Vila Ferteco would house houses and sites, but would not be very populous.

In the national registry of the National Mining Agency, the Córrego do Feijão dam is classified as a small structure with low risk and high potential damage.

Law 12.334 / 10 explains that the risk is calculated "due to the technical characteristics, the state of conservation of the project and compliance with the Dam Safety Plan". The potential damage, however, refers to "the potential for loss of human lives and the economic, social and environmental impacts resulting from the rupture of the dam." 

In a note, the State Department of Environment and Sustainable Development informs that the enterprise and the dam in Brumadinho are properly licensed.

In December 2018, Vale obtained a license for the reuse of the waste disposed in the dam and closure of activities.

"The dam has not received tailings since 2014 and had stability guaranteed by the auditor, according to the report prepared in August 2018. The causes and responsibilities for the event will be determined by the Minas government."

Press Release by Brazilian President Bolsonaro

Presidential spokesman Otávio Santana of Rêgo Barros reported that President Jair Bolsonaro intends to go there Saturday at 8 am and that a crisis office was set up to monitor the situation.

On Twitter, Bolsonaro said he regrets what happened and that the ministers of Regional Development, Mines and Energy and the Environment, as well as the National Secretary of Civil Defense, will travel to the region.

"Our greatest concern at this moment is to attend to possible victims of this grave tragedy," he wrote.

 

Vale Dam

 

 

Right imageREPRODUCTION / GOOGLE MAPS Image caption. The distance between the mining company's headquarters and the dam that broke is about 1.6 km

Rescue and guidance

Brumadinho's Secretary of Health was unable to send teams to assist in the attendance due to the difficulty of access to the site - the highway that leads there was blocked.

The government of Minas Gerais reported that the State Civil Defense sent a team to the hit area, with the purpose of helping in the rescue of the victims. The battalion of the Minas Gerais Fire Brigade has sent three helicopters to the operation, which also has one Civil Police and one Army.

 

Aerial view of Brumadinho region

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF MINAS / Image caption. The area affected by the tailings, in the image made by the Minas Firefighters Corps

The city council of Brumadinho directed the residents not to approach the bed of the Paraopeba River, near the area affected by the disaster.

Residents of the city told the BBC that people living near the river were told by the Civil Defense to leave their homes. A section of Paraopeba crosses the center of Brumadinho.

Inhotim's private open-air museum, which is also in the region, has announced that it has evacuated its facilities as a precautionary measure.

In a statement, Vale said that the dam was built in 1976 by Ferteco Mineração (acquired by Vale in 2001). According to the company, the tailings disposed occupied a volume of 11.7 million cubic meters.

Vale says that the dam had Stability Condition Statements issued by the company TUV SUD do Brasil in June and September 2018. "The dam had a Safety Factor in accordance with good global practices and above the reference of the Brazilian Standard. stability declarations attest to the dam's physical and hydraulic safety, "the company says.

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