On January 25, 2019, in Brumadinho in the state of Minas Gerais a tailing dam (mining dam) from the Vale company broke. This led to an official request for DRR-Team made on July 29, 2019 by the National Mining Industry Agency through the Federal Ministry of Mining and Energy of Minas Gerais, via the Embassy.
There are around 700 tailing ponds in Brazil, of which 430 in the Minas Gerais state, located in an area of 100 km2 around the city of Belo Horizonte. This city has 5.5 million inhabitants and therefore it is a densely populated area. Of the 430 mines, 50 were built in the same way as the tailing mine in Brumadinho and a tailing mine in Mariana, which in 2015 had also broken through.
The breaking of a tailing dam results in the spilling of toxic waste of mining, in the form of water, sludge and soil, to the adjacent area. In addition to fatalities and missing persons, the (ground)water is seriously contaminated. It also impacts the rivers that the areas inhabitants depend on, among other things, for their (drinking) water.
The Dutch DRR-Team consists of the following team members:
- Ben Lamoree (Team leader and Senior International Development Consultant)
- Joana Gonçalves Sumares Betencourt Ribeiro Vlaanderen (Geotechnical engineer)
- Joost Lansink (Lead Engineer Dyke Design)
- Siefko Slob (Engineering Geologist)
- Job Kruyswijk (Manager Integrated Slurry Solutions)
Their mission is twofold: fact-finding and preparing a workshop, divided over two visits in October and November. The time in between will be used to gather any necessary additional information, and to prepare the workshop.
Keep a close eye on the DRR-Team website, where the mission report will be published. Additionally, a presentation on the outcome of the mission in The Netherlands for interested Dutch parties will be organised. More information on this event will follow.