Contagem Regressiva, 2020
pencil and ink on paper
work in progress
November 5, 2015: Mariana, Minas Gerais State. Bento Rodrigues or Samarco dam disaster. Fundão tailings dam at the Germano iron ore mine collapsed, resulting in flooding villages of Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu de Baixo, killing 19 people. It was the largest pollutants spread along 668 kilometers (415 mi) of watercourse. The Doce River was contaminated with a toxic brown mudflow
Atlantic Forest - from 1500 to 2020
Countdow – In one year, more than 3,700 square miles of the Amazon has been razed – a swath of jungle nearly the size of Lebanon torn from the world’s largest rainforest. The current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to open the rainforest to industry and scale back its protections. In the absence of federal agents of federal agents, waves of loggers, ranchers and miners moved in, emboldened by the president and eager to satisfy global demand.
January 25, 2019: Córrego do Feijão, Minas Gerais State. Tailings dam, now in the Córrego do Feijão mine released about 12 million cubic meters of toxic mud. Between confirmed deaths and bodies perhaps forever buried in the mud, more than 300 people lost their lives in the disaster. Shortly after the rupture, toxic remains were already invading the Paraopeba River, responsible for water supply in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte
On Jan. 25, 2019 a mining dam that sat above Brumadinho, a large town in southeastern Brazil, collapsed and unleashed a tidal wave of waste and mud that engulfed homes, businesses and residents in its path. It killed at least 270 people; 12 are still missing. It was one of the deadliest mining accidents in Brazilian history — a tragedy, but not a surprise. All the elements of a potential catastrophe had been present, and warning signs overlooked, for years.
The state of Minas Gerais, where the dam that collapsed was located, is the hub of Brazil’s mining industry, producing 53 percent of the country’s total output. It has more mines and tailings dams than any other state in the country. But the laws governing them are written by the mining companies, not for the safety of residents.
The giant Brazilian mining company Vale S.A., is the world’s largest iron ore miner, founded in 1942.There are 87 mining dams in Brazil built like the one that failed. And all but four of them have been rated by the government as equally vulnerable, or worse. Even more alarming, at least 27 similarly built dams sit directly uphill from cities or towns, with more than 100,000 people living in especially risky areas if they failed.