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7 Dec 2021


Brazil: Imerys' chemical warehouse catches fire and explodes in Pará

"Imerys mining company’s chemical deposit explodes and catches fire in Barcarena, Pará", 07 January 2021

...An explosion followed by fire occurred on Monday night (6) in a chemical deposit of the multinational mining company Imerys, in the Vila do Conde neighborhood, in the city of Barcarena, Pará.

In this unit of the company, sodium hydrosulfite, a grayish-white chemical with a characteristic sulfur dioxide smell, would be stored. A white smoke with this odor filled the city at dawn on Tuesday (7), as recorded by residents in videos posted on social networks.

According to a note released by the City of Barcarena, under the management of Renato Ogawa (PL), a team from Samu and two ambulances were deployed to the region. “About 49 consultations were carried out, with mild to moderate symptoms of respiratory distress”, he informs.

Also according to the municipal management, the Barcarena Environment Department notified Imerys to present the Chemical Product Safety Information Sheet (FISPQ), the company’s contingency plan and the air quality report...

Iury Paulino, from the national coordination of the MAB and a resident of Belém (PA) says that the residents’ reports are of “difficulty breathing, problems with the mouth, eyes and skin”.

For Paulino, the moment is one of uncertainty, as the mining company does not have any information about the health consequences of exposure to the smoke of these chemicals.

“It’s another sad fact that demonstrates the disrespect for the implementation of large projects in the Amazon. Above all, speaking of that region, which is a constant victim of leaks in the hydro”, assesses the MAB coordinator...

Imerys extracts and processes calcium carbonate, kaolin and perlite ores. Present in Brazil since 1996, the French multinational is in the states of Pará, São Paulo and Espírito Santo.

The location in Barcarena is strategic for the export of ores, as the Port of Vila do Conde, the largest in Pará, was built there.

According to the MAB, this is the tenth incident involving Imerys in the past 25 years...