One month after the tragic collapse of the Vale S. A. ‘s dam in Brumadinho, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, resulting in the death of 182 people and disappearance 126 people, the state government passed Law Law 23, 291 that established a state security policy This law tightens dam safety control, increases audit transparency results and ensures popular participation in the licensing process of new dams.
After a set of seven dam collapses since 2001, among them the one of Fundão in 2015 and in Brumadinho, the Legislative Assembly of the State of Minas Gerais decided to approve a law that meets a set of unions’ and other social movements’ demands such as: the end of upstream dams in the state, since this is the most dangerous construction method; the obligation to conduct public hearings during the licensing process; and the definition of a technical audit frequency of one to three years depending on the dam damage potential and the publication of the results of those audits annually, ensuring greater transparency.
The law contemplates three amendments submitted by SITICOP, affiliated to Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), which are the result of the discussions of the National Network of Dam’s Workers meetings: the mandatory public hearings during the licensing process, the restriction of the operation of dams only per companies that have expertise in dam and engineering registration and the Internal Commission for the Prevention of Accidents (CIPA) unified including direct and outsourced workers.
The Network was a BWI initiative after the collapse of the Fundão Dam in Mariana, which among other initiatives, presented a complaint to the OECD and was mobilized in solidarity with victims of the tragedies and their families.