Photographer Bruno Oliveira is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photography essay. From his project ‘Undermining‘, a project about consumerism and the environment. To see Bruno’s stories and photographs click on any image.
On the 5th of November 2015, a dam at Samarco mining company in Minas Gerais, Brazil, collapsed and released an estimated 50 million cubic meters of mud waste, destroying several villages and killing 17 people. The mud travelled a distance of 700km through the Doce river until it reached the sea, causing the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the country. The mud is considered harmless against humans however its density in the water prevents fish from breathing.
Samarco is a mining company with a shared ownership between Brazilian Vale and Australian BHP Billiton. It is one of several mining companies in the region and responsible for the employment of many people in Mariana, Minas Gerais. The company was required to pay an immediate fine of $250 million for environmental damages and is currently facing trials and under investigation. The causes of the accident are still unclear and a second dam in the site is currently being repaired and could still collapse. It is estimated that the total damage will cost Samarco $5 billion and it will take decades for wildlife in the river to fully recover.
This project looks at the environmental impact caused by the mining company as a result of society’s demands. It approaches the issue from a different angle by acknowledging Samarco’s responsibility for the accident but also questioning why they are there in the first place.
By Bruno Oliveira