PerspectiveEnvironment

Tackling mine wastes

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Science  15 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6283, pp. 288-290
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3354

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Summary

On 5 November 2015, the Fundão and Santarém mine tailings dams in Minas Gerais, Brazil, failed, releasing 62 million m3 of sediment and water that destroyed homes, killed at least 17 people, cut of potable water supplies, blanketed more than 650 km of rivers, and flowed into the Atlantic Ocean (see the photo). The tailings dam failure, the largest ever recorded (1), demonstrates many of the diverse impacts of mine wastes. How can the potentially severe impacts of mine wastes and the risk of such disasters be reduced?