Environment

11,000 Brazilian families sue Norwegian miner for environmental disaster

Norwegian giant Norsk Hydro repeatedly discharged toxic waste into rivers surrounding the town of Barcarena, damaging the local environment

Class-action lawsuit seeks reparation from Norwegian giant for disaster
State inspectors monitoring contamination levels in the water of Barcarena, Pará. “Another case of a mining giant which ignored the risks,” says lawyer. Photo: Ag.Pará

In early February 2018, a river of red mud rushed through 13 communities in the town of Barcarena, in the northern Brazilian state of Pará. While the region was being battered by heavy rains at the time, the sludge flooding the city was not merely dirty water.

Months later, in the dry season, the same town was enveloped in by a red dust cloud, harming the soil and air quality. According to later investigations, the toxic dust and red mud were caused by a leak of chemical tailings in a nearby facility owned by Norwegian mining firm Hydro Alunorte,...

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