URGENT ACTION: Anglo American mining project threatens rural communities and violates human rights.

Protestos dos antigidos no encontro do COPAM 18.09.2014

Protestos dos atingidos no encontro do COPAM 18/09/2014, Foto: Tobias Schmitt

Dear Sirs/ Madams,

We herein wish to inform you about a project that may be licensed by the government of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, in 29th September 2014, next Monday. This project, from Anglo American Company, is definitely a tremendous social and environmental disaster.
The Minas-Rio project consists of extracting iron ore from Conceição do Mato Dentro (in Minas Gerais, Brazil) and Alvorada de Minas, the construction of a 525 kilometers long duct system and a port. The pulp iron ore is transported via the pipeline to the port of Açu (São João da Barra in state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), passing through 32 municipalities in the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, in Southeastern Brazil.
The project belongs to Anglo American plc, a UK mining company, and it is expected to produce 26.5 Mtpa (wet tonnes) of iron ore pellet feed over a current mine life of 28 years.

Even though the enterprise has no operation license, many impacts have already hit people’s lives. A waterfall was blown, rivers dried and were contaminated, killing fishes, horses and cows, letting those people who depend from natural resources without means of having a proper life. The environmental unviability of the project is certain, but Anglo American refuses to implement even the conditions recommended by the Environmental Agencies.
The first environmental licenses for the project were granted in 2008, 2009 and 2010, conditioned to over 300 requirements by the Environmental Agencies in order to compensate and mitigate its impacts in the region. Such a high number of conditions indicates the social-environmental infeasibility of the project, which has been widely contested. Social movements, environmentalists and academics have been questioning the validity of such licenses, arguing that Anglo American has failed to comply with all the requirements – many of them fundamental to safeguard the rights of those affected by the project. The irregular implementation of the Minas-Rio project has caused serious damage to thousands of rural families, who have had their basic human rights neglected and their demands disregarded.
Most of these problems will persist if the last license, the Operating License, is granted by the Environmental Council of the State of Minas Gerais (COPAM). Pressured by Anglo American, the Council intends to issue this License without following the conditions indicated by the law.

Another reason that we should repudiate this enterprise is that during the construction period it was discovered that many people were working in slavery conditions. Actually, those complaints happened twice. In the first time, 172 people were found in those conditions. The next year, another 67 humans had their rights abused due to this situation.

Read the information:

http://reporterbrasil.org.br/2014/01/imigrantes-haitianos-sao-escravizados-no-brasil/

http://reporterbrasil.org.br/2014/05/fiscalizacao-volta-a-flagrar-escravidao-em-megaobra-da-anglo-american/

In the past 18th September 2014 occurred a meeting to vote the same enterprise. However, some families affected by the project and social movements did not let it happen, since they saw in the meeting that the license could be given neglecting their rights. The police was called to “maintain the order”, but the families did not retreat. Unfortunately, another meeting will happen in the 29th September and we need your help to stop this human rights abuse.

We kindly urge you to write (in your own language) to the counsellors and to the Environmental Secretary of the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais, Mr. Alceu Torres, demanding that any environmental license of Anglo American’s Minas-Rio project should not be granted, especially not voted in the forthcoming meeting of COPAM (the environmental state council), in 29th September.

Please, find the emails bellow.

Thank you for your attention in this matter that concerns everyone that worries with the environment and social justice.

Articulação da Bacia do Rio Santo Antônio

SUGGESTION OF MESSAGE

*In support of the people affected by the Minas-Rio project, we urge the
authorities in Minas Gerais to cancel the meeting of  URC Jequitinhonha in
29 September and that no Operating License should be granted to Anglo
American until all the irregularities are solved and environmental
conditionalities are accomplished.*

*Person/Organization*

Please write to: email-list COPAM

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