Warning on Mining Dam Disasters: BBC

Companies mining for coal, copper and iron ore remove tons of material during the excavation process – only a small amount is valuable ore and the rest is rock and material contaminated with chemicals and other mining waste. “And the cheapest way to dispose of these remains is to create what's called a ‘tailings pond’ – a rather genteel term for a dumping-ground sealed with a dam,” explains David Shukman for BBC News, explaining that companies construct these dams with mining waste itself. In January, the dam to such a dump broke in Minas Gerais of Brazil, flooding nearby Brumadinho with thick sludge and killing at least 160 people with more missing. There are thousands of such dumps around the world, and experts have warned that such accidents are inevitable. The large size of some mining waste dumps means that any breach is more dangerous, especially during heavy rainfall. Many local leaders hesitate to cross the mining industry as a major employer in their communities. Researchers recommend that mining companies inform community members about the location of these dumps and work with local governments on evacuation plans. In Brazil, the dumps are often located near poor communities, and one professor called it a form of “environmental racism.” – YaleGlobal

Warning on Mining Dam Disasters: BBC

The catastrophic collapse of a dam at the Vale mine in Brazil exposes threats of the mining industry that powers other industries around the globe
David Shukman
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Read the article from BBC News about the dangers of dams containing mining waste.

David Shukman is science editor for BBC News.

(Source: Hydralok)

Copyright © 2019 BBC.

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