Movement for the Mountains and Waters of Minas (MovSAM)

“Water is worth more than minerals!” at the Ferriferous four-side, Minas Gerais

Minas Gerais

Objectives and target audience

Guaranteeing water security in the central region of Minas Gerais known as the Ferriferous four-side through a territorial campaign that defends water as a human right essential to life, contrary to the destruction of aquifers by mining operations.

Main activities

– Meeting for leaders: regional level, collective planning, schedule for local meetings and definition of agenda.

– Local meetings: local level, registering conflicts (or threats), creation of a plan for interchange visit, definition of how to apply available resources for local event.

– Interchange visits among territories with local events.

– Regional mass-event in Belo Horizonte (creation of Four-side Aquifer Day).

– Creation of a dossier-denunciation protocol.

– Creation of a social media accounts and periodical production of content.


The region of Minas Gerais known as the Ferriferous four-side has the largest mineral deposits of southeastern Brazil and one of the most important in the world. There, the peaks and edges of the mountains are composed of “cangas”, special geological formations that are essential for the quick penetration of rainwater into the soil and subsoil where they form the Cauê formation, a system of deep aquifers capable of holding much water, regulating and maintaining, even in dry seasons, the supply of water to rivers. The cangas and Cauê formation thus compose something called the Ferruginous Geosystem, where the level of iron coincides with the level of the aquifer, which means that extracting iron does irrevocable damage and destruction to the aquifer. The loss of forests and degradation of water quality (among other impacts) isn’t justified by the export of raw minerals. All this, along with the current moment of hydric collapse, the sudden decline in the price of minerals and an arrogance by corporations, together with the fact that civil society cannot count on the State — who has financed, and thus aligned itself with, mining — makes the problem even more complex and puts the present and future of Minas Gerais itself, considered Brazil’s water tank, at risk. Conflicts accumulate and increase, frighteningly so, the number of communities affected, along with the number of those in the path of mega-projects underway or in their environmental licensing phase.

About the organization

MovSAM was founded July 1, 2008 by people and organizations who were already active in confronting mining. The reason for the foundation was worries over the impact of mining on the mountains and water. It has organized with other groups that arose in Minas Gerais, especially in the Ferriferous four-side aquifer region, who are active in the regions targeted by this project.


- Popular Network for a Living São Francisco.

- International Network of those Affected by Vale.

- National Committee to Defend Territories from Mining.

- Minas Committee to Defend Territories from Mining.

- Santo Antônio Basin Network.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals



Total Granted

R$ 40,000


12 months

Main Themes

Social and environmental rights within mega-projects

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