Brazil’s Latest Dam Disaster: Human Loss and Environmental Degradation

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle in specialist publication


The recent dam collapse in the Brazilian village of Brumadinho, in the mining-heavy state of Minas Gerais, is arguably one of the worst human and environmental disasters in the nation’s history. It has been reported 142 people were killed and another 194 are still missing after the disaster which struck on 25 January. Local people from Brumandinho have said nobody has escaped the tragedy – everyone had a friend, a family member or an acquaintance that has either been killed or is still missing.
In a similar incident in November 2015, a larger dam in Minas Gerais burst in the village of Mariana killing 19 people and causing a similar environmental disaster. The Mariana dam was run by the Samarco Company, a joint venture between Brazil’s Vale SA and BHP Billiton. In that tragedy, the mine’s toxic mud buried the entire village of Bento Rodrigues, contaminated the Doce River basin and left approximately 280,000 people without water. The environmental impact was catastrophic, with the toxic waste travelling through Brazil’s waterways and reaching the Atlantic coast.

Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationAustralian Outlook
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Brazil’s Latest Dam Disaster: Human Loss and Environmental Degradation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this