In recent years, major mining companies operating in Brazil have made international headlines due to the sheer amount of damage they have caused to the environment and to thousands of people.
But the wheels of Brazilian justice turn slowly.
States’ economic dependence on mining operations and the proximity of these companies with regulators often allow them to escape such crises almost completely unscathed. Victims of these catastrophes are now seeking justice in multiple class-action lawsuits in European courts, pushing for harsher and quicker penalties against polluting mining firms.
If profits are global, why shouldn’t accountability be as well?
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On this episode:
- Pedro Martins holds master’s degrees in Law from the Insper Institute for Education and Research and King’s College London. He represented 200,000 individual plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against BHP for its responsibility in the 2015 Mariana dam disaster.
- After an iron ore tailings dam collapsed in Mariana, the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools of toxic sludge was spilled, destroying entire towns and resulting in 19 deaths. Reporters Karla Mendes and Maria Paola de Salvo break down the disaster in a six-part series.
- Five years after Mariana, Samarco has resumed activities.
- Roughly 11,000 Brazilian families sue Norwegian miner Norsk Hydro for deliberately polluting rivers and streams.
- Mariana families still await compensation. In Brumadinho, nearly 450 families remain homeless.
- Renato Alves told the story of the indigenous community displaced by the Brumadinho dam collapse and now threatened by the Covid-19 crisis.
- After the Brumadinho dam collapse, our newsroom looked back on the worst environmental disasters in Brazil’s recent history.
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