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Vale wins “worst company” award
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Brazilian mining giant gets anti-prize for record of rights abuses and environmental damage.

Brazilian mining company Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore, was voted the world’s worst corporation in the Public Eye Awards, a contest organized by Greenpeace Switzerland and the Berne Declaration, a Swiss nongovernmental organization that monitors corporations for “more equitable North-South relations.”

Vale received 25,041 votes of 88,766 that were cast online for the so-called “Nobel Prize of Shame.”

“The corporation’s 70-year history is tarnished by repeated human rights abuses, inhumane working conditions, pillaging of the public heritage and the ruthless exploitation of nature,” said the award’s website. At the center of the company’s nomination was the contentious Belo Monte dam in the Brazilian Amazon, which if built would become the world’s third-largest. Vale is a shareholder in the project, which would flood thousands of hectares of Amazon rain forest and displace some 40,000 people, some of them indigenous communities living in voluntary isolation.

The company also has a long track record of environmental and human rights violations.

Vale is responsible for 4% of Brazil’s carbon emissions and uses 1.2 billion cubic meters of water — the equivalent of the amount needed to meet the needs of 22,000 people, the award’s website said.

“Long-term strikes in Canada, forced displacement of thousands of people in Mozambique, use of paramilitary agents to repress leaders of traditional peoples in Peru, union busting in Colombia and severe environmental damage to indigenous peoples territories in New Caledonia are some examples of recent conflicts,” said the website. “An investigation conducted by the International Federation on Human Rights revealed major health problems among communities living in the vicinity of Vale’s coal-burning facilities and its preferred partner’s pig iron plants in Brazil.”
—Latinamerica Press.

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