After the collapse of the Fundão dam, 43 million m3 of iron ore tailings continue to cause environmental damage, polluting 668 km of watercourses from the Doce River to the Atlantic Ocean. The objectives of this study are to characterize the Fundão Tailings Dam and structural failures; improve the understanding of the scale of the disaster; and assess the largest technological disaster in the global context of tailings dam failures. The collapse of Fundão was the biggest environmental disaster of the world mining industry, both in terms of the volume of tailings dumped and the magnitude of the damage. More than year after the tragedy, Samarco has still not carried out adequate removal, monitoring or disposal of the tailings, contrary to the premise of the total removal of tailings from affected rivers proposed by the country’s regulatory agencies and the worldwide literature on post-disaster management. Contrary to expectations, there was a setback in environmental legal planning, such as law relaxation, decrease of resources for regulatory agencies and the absence of effective measures for environmental recovery. It is urgent to review how large-scale extraction of minerals is carried out, the technical and environmental standards involved, and the oversight and monitoring of the associated structures.
Flávio Fonseca do Carmo, Luciana Hiromi Yoshino Kamino, Rogério Tobias Junior, Iara Christina de Campos, Felipe Fonseca do Carmo, Guilherme Silvino, Kenedy Junio da Silva Xavier de Castro, Mateus Leite Mauro, Nelson Uchoa Alonso Rodrigues, Marcos Paulo de Souza Miranda, Carlos Eduardo Ferreira Pinto
Associação Brasileira de Ciência Ecológica e Conservação (ABECO), Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, Elsevier, Vol. 16, pags. 1-7.