Brazil mining company dumps sand and clay into river

AP News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2015 6:16 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian environmental authorities suspended a mining company's operations in Rio de Janeiro state after a retention dike broke, sending sand and clay into an unpolluted river that flows into Guanabara Bay where Olympic sailing events will be held next year.

Rio state's Environmental Protection Institute said in a statement Tuesday that Jacunda Mining Co. had been shut down indefinitely the previous day and ordered to repair the dike.

The statement said that "large amounts" of sand and clay spilled into the Roncador River on July 30 and that tests were being conducted to determine the impact on water quality. Results were expected in 10 days.

The mining company extracts niobium and titanium.

As part of Brazil's Olympic project, authorities pledged more than six years ago to drastically cut the amount of raw human sewage in Guanabara Bay before the 2016 games. But only one of the eight promised treatment plants aimed at filtering much of the waste out of the rivers that have become open-air sewage ditches has been built, and the bay's once-crystalline waters remain fetid.

An Associated Press investigation published last week revealed high counts of disease-causing viruses directly linked to human sewage in Olympic waters.