SETAC Latin America Focused Topic Meeting
26–27 June 2019, Brasília, Brazil
The tailings spill that resulted from the collapse of the Fundão Tailings Dam, operated by Samarco in the Germano-Alegria mine area, in the municipality of Mariana, Minas Gerais, occurred on 5 November 2015. It is estimated that 36 million cubic meters of tailings (primarily of clay and fine sand sized particles) were lost to the environment and dispersed along approximately 680 km of watercourses of the Rio Doce catchment and 41 municipalities of the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The mass flow of tailings and entrained materials affected terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, as well as causing human, stock and domestic animal fatalities, the destruction of agricultural areas and towns, and it compromised the socio-economic activities in the affected areas when it occurred.
Numerous monitoring programs and research investigations have been implemented in the catchment since then. Samples of biota, water, sediments and tailings deposits have been collected for physical, chemical, biological and ecotoxicological assessments. However, these have mostly been reported individually, or only as reporting obligations to regulatory agencies and other institutions, and not either widely disseminated or collated into a comprehensive update of the state of knowledge of the impacts to and recovery of the affected ecosystems.
The objective of this symposium is to promote a peer scientific discussion and to encourage the joint dissemination of the results of the studies already carried out and those in progress, in order to provide a more coherent source of information for environmental recovery planning, ecotoxicological risk analysis, damage evaluation and recovery monitoring planning. The audience would be both active workers in the area (researchers, consultants, company and foundation employees) as well as regulators and other interested government and community stakeholders.