Following the recent catastrophic Brumadinho tailings dam collapse in Brazil, groups including London Mining Network, Brazilian Women Against Fascism UK, War on Want, Yes to Life, No to Mining and Decolonising Environmentalism, will hold a vigil on Wednesday 6th February, from 6-7pm outside the UK's Brazilian embassy.
On Friday 25th January, 12 million cubic metres of mining waste surged through the Brumadinho valley after the collapse of a tailings dam in the state of Minas Gerais. It covered homes, farmland, livestock, and people. Toxic sludge from a tailings dam, up to eight metres deep, has been left in its wake.
The death toll has now reached 110 people with 200 people still missing, but rescue teams have now called off their search for survivors.
We, along with other groups, have called the vigil to remember those who have died and who are still missing, and in solidarity with the communities who are left to pick up the pieces. Candles will be lit and the testimonies and immediate demands of affected communities will be read out.
This was no one-off tragic accident but the second tailings dam collapse to happen in Brazil in just over three years. In November 2015, 78 miles away in Mariana, also in the state of Minas Gerais, millions of tonnes of toxic waste swept through the Rio Doce, devastating communities in its wake. 19 people were killed.
The 2015 dam was owned by Samarco, a subsidiary of Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP, and Brazilian company Vale, the world's largest producer of iron ore.
These dam collapses were preventable, had there been stricter regulation and state oversight, and had Vale and BHP not enjoyed impunity following the Sarmarco disaster, for which victims are still awaiting justice.
For the same 'accident' to happen twice in three years is nothing less than corporate manslaughter.
Therefore, outside the Brazilian Embassy, we will also be holding Brazilian mining company Vale and the Brazilian government to account.
Vale isn't listed on the London Stock Exchange (BHP is), but it does have links with the City because a number of British pension funds invest in Vale on US stock exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange.
This means that British citizens have a responsibility and an opportunity to demand the tighter regulation of mining companies, harsher penalties for putting profit over people, and a commitment - rather than lip service - from all mining companies that this avoidable catastrophe never happens again.
For more details of the vigil, see the Facebook event page.
The Vigil takes place on Wednesday 6th February, from 6-7pm outside the Embassy of Brazil, 14-16 Cockspur Street, SW1Y 5BL London, United Kingdom
See also: ICN Jan 27th, 2019 - Brazil: New catastrophic spill from mining dam threatens thousands of lives - www.indcatholicnews.com/news/36416
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