Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 2017;15:145-51 DOI: 10.1016/j.pecon.2017.06.002
Essays and Perspectives
Fundão tailings dam failures: the environment tragedy of the largest technological disaster of Brazilian mining in global context
Flávio Fonseca do Carmoa,, , Luciana Hiromi Yoshino Kaminoa, Rogério Tobias Juniora, Iara Christina de Camposa, Felipe Fonseca do Carmoa, Guilherme Silvinoa, Kenedy Junio da Silva Xavier de Castroa, Mateus Leite Mauroa, Nelson Uchoa Alonso Rodriguesa, Marcos Paulo de Souza Mirandab, Carlos Eduardo Ferreira Pintob
a Instituto Prístino, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
b MPMG Ministério Público do Estado de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
Received 09 December 2016, Accepted 03 June 2017
Abstract

After the collapse of the Fundão dam, 43millionm3 of iron ore tailings continue to cause environmental damage, polluting 668km 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.

Keywords
Iron ore, Post-disaster management, Ecosystem collapse, Large-Scale Mining Industry, Doce River