Is a gold mine polluting the water of these Brazilian villagers?

By Above Ground

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The context

Many Canadian mining companies have a poor track record on human rights and the environment, with their operations often linked to serious social and environmental harm. Gold mining is of particular concern because it generates high levels of dangerous waste.

Our problem

In Brazil, a Canadian company owns a massive open-pit gold mine. The mine is located next to a town of nearly 85,000 inhabitants, and there are several villages located nearby.

The mining operation produces huge volumes of waste which are then dumped into large containment areas.

Residents from nearby villages worry their water supply is being polluted by contaminants filtering out of the containment areas. They use this water for drinking, cooking, bathing, irrigating their crops, and caring for their livestock.

Preliminary water tests suggest the villagers have good reason to be concerned about the quality of their water. The results indicate dangerously high levels of arsenic, a toxic heavy metal.

Residents are calling for more comprehensive tests to fully assess the safety of their water. These tests involve sampling water from multiple locations and measuring a larger range of contaminants. The villagers want the tests carried out by independent experts.

How you can help

An international team of scientists recently travelled to Brazil, pro bono, and collected the samples needed for a robust study. They require $8,000 USD to process the samples in a university lab. Your donation will help pay these lab fees.

Your impact

Once the tests are complete, the full results will be published. This will provide the villagers with a vital tool to advocate for safer water.

It will also assist our organization, Above Ground, as we continue to support communities in defence of their rights.

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