47 dams were embargoed due to lack of safety in Brazil and 4 of them are the maximum emergency level

In a report for Jornal Nacional, MAB denounces the lack of a dam safety policy, even after the crimes already committed by Vale in the country

Structure of the dam B3/B4, in São Sebastião das Águas Claras, Nova Lima district, known as Macacos. The dam is at level 3 of emergency, the most dangerous phase. Photo: Leo Fontes/ O Tempo

Structure of the dam B3/B4, in São Sebastião das Águas Claras, Nova Lima district, known as Macacos. The dam is at level 3 of emergency, the most dangerous phase. Photo: Leo Fontes / O Tempo

Accordingly to the reportage broadcasted this week by Jornal Nacional, in September, Brazil had 47 dams embargoed due to the lack of safety. The data from the Nacional Mining Agency – ANM, in the Portuguese acronym, show that this number represents a growth when compared to the month of February when 42 structures were interdicted due to the lack of stability declaration. Among these dams, four of them are at the maximum level of emergency, which represents “imminent breakup”.

In other words, even after the crimes already committed by huge mining companies that operate in the country, like Vale and BHP Billiton, the lack of legislation and supervision allows these companies to keep acting in a negligent way when it comes to the safety of the population, which becomes increasingly more vulnerable with the increase of the structures at risk – considered actual time bombs in the communities.

“Living close to a dam at risk brings damage to these people´s lives projects. Hence, this news (about the reports) brings more pain and suffering to the affected people from all over Brazil. It shows the nonexistence of a serious dam safety policy”, affirms Joceli Andreoli, coordinator of Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB) in Minas Gerais, to Jornal Nacional.

Nowadays, the embargo – mentioned by the News –is applied to companies that have not presented the Condition of Stability Declaration (DCE, in the Portuguese acronym) of the dam, case of 16 mining companies, to which there is no information about the situation of their structures, or, to the ones that presented the document, it did not certify the stability of the dams – what occurred to 31 enterprises in September. It means that the affected people who live around these structures are highly vulnerable, just like the landscape and the public patrimony around them.

More risk of breakup in Minas Gerais

Of the total of these projects, 31 are in Minas Gerais, a state that to this day suffers from the impacts of the Mariana and Brumadinho dam failures, which destroyed the Rio Doce and Rio Paraopeba Basins. There are also interdictions in Mato Grosso, Bahia, Pará, São Paulo, and Amapá. Most of the structures belong to the mining company Vale.

“This means that the contracted audit made calculations and does not want to certify that these dams are safe, as it assesses that there are problems that could compromise the structure,” explained the professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Bruno Milanez, to G1.

Among the dams with the highest level of emergency is Vale’s B3 B4, which is located near the Macacos district of Nova Lima, at the Mar Azul mine. The structure has already started to have its 2.7 million cubic meters of iron ore tailings removed, but, according to Vale, the process will only be completed in 2025. Until then, it remains at imminent risk of collapse, terrorizing the population. which has already been on alert with false alarms from the mining company itself in different situations.

In total, there are 461 mining dams included in the National Dam Safety Policy (PNSB). In addition to B3/B4, other examples of Vale dams embargoed in the country are Forquilha III, in Ouro Preto (MG), Sul Superior, in Barão de Cocais (MG). MAB works in all these territories, organizing the population to claim their rights and pressuring the public authorities to guarantee the safety of affected people, repair the damage caused, and the responsibility and punishment of companies for the risks generated in the territory.

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