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BHP’s role in the Brazilian mining tragedy

I would urge anyone who cares for the environment and the plight of humanity who suffer from the dictates of corporate greed to watch on IView the ABC documentary 4 Corners screened on Monday which covered the recent social/environmental tragedy in Brazil.

Driven by greed and profit BHP drove up mining production to the point where the tailing dam burst and the vile, dangerous toxic waters descended upon the residents in Bento Rodriguez.

No warning was issued concerning the imminent tragedy. In its wake many children and villagers were killed and residents described witnessing body parts floating in the rushing waters, such was the force of the impact. All was destroyed but this tragedy need not have happened.

Indeed, an environmental expert had previously warned of such a possibility and made a statement of strong EIS recommendations to BHP’s subsidiary company.

Despite many attempts to confirm that these had been implemented his attempts were constantly dismissed. Nothing must impede the profit motive it would appear.

Andrew McKenzie, CEO of BHP, could only articulate deep concern through narratives of redundant rhetoric. No admission of gross negligence was forthcoming. Remedy, such as temporary housing is no solution to the apparent attitudes of ‘surplus humanity’ that impede BHP production.

But this tragedy reveals deeper lessons for us all. It reveals the need for an independent EIS in all matters where safety is concerned, I speak of eco -systems and living species.

It also reveals the arrogance of corporations in regard to this issue. It is well known that developers and corporations will bend over backwaters to avoid an EIS.

The consequences of the Brazil tragedy raises the legal debate in that country. This will have legal consequences for environmental vandals  wherever they operate.

Finally, I thank the ABC for its powerful role as national educator, save our ABC against the hubris and greed of devouring corporations.

Jo Faith, Newtown


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