Another huge and open iron mine is carved out of Brazil’s rain forest

April 14, 2015

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 04/13/2015

The line of trucks and four-wheel-drive pickups threw up clouds of red dust as it snaked up the hill on the wide dirt road. From the top, Brazilian rain forest stretched out into the distance. Before it, a vast quadrangle was being carved out of the slope by an army of machines, a scar of red earth in the green hills.

S11D, as this project is unceremoniously known, is an open-cast iron ore mine being dug out of this corner of the Brazilian Amazon, in the state of Para. Brazil’s mining giant, Vale, says the mine was designed for minimum environmental impact and maximum profitability. It is to start operating next year and by 2018 will be producing nearly 100 million tons annually of some of the purest iron ore in the world — a lifeblood for Brazil’s pallid economy.

But environmentalists argue that S11D could destroy rare savannah ecosystems found in two lakes on top of rich iron ore deposits. Dozens of caves that potentially contained evidence of ancient Amazon habitations have been lost. This grandiose $17 billion project is emblematic of a very contemporary, Brazilian dilemma: Can the country develop its rich natural resources without causing irreparable damage to its environment and history?

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Brazil water shortage: Sao Paulo devastated by its worst drought on record

February 23, 2015

Zachary Davies Boren – The Independent, 02/23/2015

As Brazil continues to battle a historic drought, millions of people in its largest city are about to run out of water.

São Paulo, home to around 20 million, is experiencing its lowest rainfall since 1930, and new water-saving measures have been introduced in an attempt to manage the escalating catastrophe.

Services including schools and hospitals are having to adapt to the country’s newfound water struggles, with The Telegraph reporting that doctors have even been forced to cut short dialyses treatment for kidney patients.

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Brazil’s JBS says suing Greenpeace after report

June 8, 2012

Fabiola Gomes, Reuters, 06/06/2012

SAO PAULO, June 6 (Reuters) – Brazil’s JBS, the world’s largest meat company, said on Wednesday it would sue environmental organization Greenpeace for what it called false claims that could cause it to lose business and hurt its image.

In a report it released this week, Greenpeace accused the company of breaking an accord that JBS and other Brazilian meat packers signed in 2009 promising not to purchase cattle raised on deforested pastures. Greenpeace said JBS had bought cattle raised on Indian reserves and other restricted areas.

JBS said in a market filing on Wednesday that all the accusations Greenpeace had made against it in the report were false and “lead society to a false conclusion.” It said would take Greenpeace to court for material damages and for making accusations harmful to its image.

JBS, which did not say how much it would seek in compensation, said the report could cause it to lose existing contracts and future business.

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