In the afternoon of November 5th, 2015, the iron ore tailings dam known as Fundão, owned by Samarco, one of the world’s largest mining companies controlled by Vale S.A and BHP Billiton, collapsed in Mariana city in the state of Minas Gerais - Brazil, spreading millions of cubic meters of tailings on the environment, leaving 19 deaths and several communities buried in the mud.
The mud trail was spread for 650 kilometers between the states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, destroying families, cities, forests, and rivers. More than 39 million cubic meters of mining waste traveled along the Gualaxo, Carmo, and Doce rivers to the Atlantic Ocean causing damage to the ecosystems, especially the Doce river - a large and important river in the region that was highly contaminated by iron ore tailings, culminating in cities without water and fishermen without work and food.
Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu de Baixo were the first communities affected by the mud. Bento Rodrigues was impacted in less than 15 minutes after the collapse. After hearing the noise of the breakdown, the residents only had time to run to the nearest high point with only their clothes on.
The project “Resist - not to forget”, portrays the first communities impacted by the rupture of the Fundão Dam - Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu de Baixo in 2018, two and a half years after the event. Resistant to mud and time, these lands bring memories, not allowing Brazil’s worst socio-environmental tragedy and one of the world’s biggest mining disasters to fall by the wayside. The loss of home causes the loss of cultural identities and references, bringing disorders and traumas that will be not healed with any compensation.