Caring for Water Where Mining Leads to Wealth and Tragedies in Brazil

A mountainous landscape in the area of the headwaters of the Velhas River, where "barraginhas", the Portuguese name for holes dug like lunar craters in the hills and slopes, prevent erosion by swallowing a large amount of soil that sediments the upper reaches of the river, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

A mountainous landscape in the area of the headwaters of the Velhas River, where “barraginhas”, the Portuguese name for holes dug like lunar craters in the hills and slopes, prevent erosion by swallowing a large amount of soil that sediments the upper reaches of the river, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

By Mario Osava
BELO HORIZONTE/ITABIRITO, Brazil , May 19 2022 – The southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais owes its name to the main economic activity throughout its history: mining – of gold since the 17th century and later iron ore, which took on an industrial scale with massive exports in the 20th century.

The so-called Iron Quadrangle, a mountainous area of some 7,000 square kilometers in the center of the state, concentrates the state’s minerals and mining activity, long questioned by environmentalists, who have been impotent in the face of the industry’s economic clout.

But the threat of water shortages in Greater Belo Horizonte, population six million, along with two horrific mining accidents, reduced the disparity of forces between the two sides. Now environmentalists can refer to actual statistics and events, not just ecological arguments.

Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state, experienced an unprecedented water crisis in 2014 and 2015, during a drought that affected the entire southeast of Brazil.

“For the first time we experienced shortages here that only the semi-arid north of the state was familiar with,” said Marcelo da Fonseca, general director of the Mining Institute of Water Management (Igam).

On Jan. 25, 2019, a tailings dam broke in Brumadinho, 35 kilometers from Belo Horizonte as the crow flies. The tragedy killed 270 people and toxic sludge contaminated more than 300 kilometers of the Paraopeba River, which provided 15 percent of the water for the Greater Belo Horizonte region (known as RMBH), whose supply has not yet recovered.

On Nov. 5, 2015, a similar accident had claimed 19 lives in Mariana, 75 kilometers from Belo Horizonte, and silted up more than 600 kilometers of the Doce River on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. (The river, whose waters run eastward, do not supply the RMBH.)

Two years of drought, in 2014 and 2015, frightened the population of Greater Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. For the first time the threat of water shortages was felt, said the director general of the Minas Gerais Water Management Institute, Marcelo da Fonseca. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Two years of drought, in 2014 and 2015, frightened the population of Greater Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. For the first time the threat of water shortages was felt, said the director general of the Minas Gerais Water Management Institute, Marcelo da Fonseca. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Mining hazards

Minas Gerais has more than 700 mining tailings dams. The latest data from the State Environmental Foundation (Feam) show 33 in different degrees of emergency, four of which are at level three – high risk and mandatory evacuation of endangered residents – and nine at level 2 – recommended evacuation.

“We are hostages of the mining companies, they occupy the territory and make other economies unviable,” said Camila Alterthum, one of the founders and coordinators of the Cresce Institute and an activist with the Fechos, Eu Cuido movement, promoted by the Rio de las Velhas Watershed Committee.

Fechos is the name of an Ecological Station, a 603-hectare integral conservation area belonging to the municipality of Nova Lima, but bordering Belo Horizonte.

“There are mountains here that recharge the Cauê aquifer, which supplies more than 200,000 inhabitants of southern Belo Horizonte and a neighborhood in Nova Lima,” an adjoining municipality, said Alterthum, who lives in Vale do Sol, a neighborhood adjacent to Fechos.

Activist Camila Alterthum is opposed to mining, which she says is a permanent threat to the destruction of nature and water sources. She is fighting to expand the Fechos Ecological Station, whose forests contribute to the water supply for more than 200,000 inhabitants of Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Activist Camila Alterthum is opposed to mining, which she says is a permanent threat to the destruction of nature and water sources. She is fighting to expand the Fechos Ecological Station, whose forests contribute to the water supply for more than 200,000 inhabitants of Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Her movement presented to the Minas Gerais state legislature a bill to expand Fechos by 222 hectares, to provide more water and preserve local biodiversity.

But Vale, Brazil’s largest mining company, aims to expand its two local mines in that area.

In order to acquire the land, it is offering double the number of hectares for conservation, a counterproposal rejected by the movement because it would not meet the environmental objectives and most of it is an area that the company must preserve by law anyway.

A fiercer battle was unleashed by the decision of the Minas Gerais government’s State Environmental Policy Council, which has a majority of business and government representatives, to approve on Apr. 30 a project by the Taquaril company to extract iron ore from the Curral mountain range.

Forestry engineer Julio Carvalho, of the Itabirito municipal government, stands next to a "barraginha" on a private rural property, whose owners joined the municipal effort to contain soil loss and river sedimentation in this area of southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Forestry engineer Julio Carvalho, of the Itabirito municipal government, stands next to a “barraginha” on a private rural property, whose owners joined the municipal effort to contain soil loss and river sedimentation in this area of southeastern Brazil. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

This mountain range is the most prominent landscape feature of Belo Horizonte, in addition to being important in terms of water and environmental aspects for the capital, although it is located on its border, on the side of the municipality of Nova Lima. The mining threat triggered a huge outcry from environmentalists, artists and society in general.

Droughts and erosion

There are other threats to the RMBH’s water supply. “We are very close to the springs, so we depend on the rains that fall here,” Fonseca told IPS at Igam headquarters in Belo Horizonte.

Two consecutive years of drought have seriously jeopardized the water supply.

Two basins supply the six million inhabitants of the 34 municipalities making up Greater Belo Horizonte.

The Velhas River accounts for 49 percent of the water supply and the Paraopeba River for 51 percent, according to Sergio Neves, superintendent of the Metropolitan Business Unit of the Minas Gerais Sanitation Company (Copasa), which serves most of the state.

The Paraopeba River stopped supplying water after the 2019 accident, but its basin has two important reservoirs in the tributaries. The one on the Manso River, for example, supplies 34 percent of the RMBH.

The phenomenon of "voçorocas" (gullies) is repeated in several parts of Itabirito and Ouro Preto, the municipalities where the Velhas river basin originates, in southeastern Brazil. The soil is vulnerable to erosion and measures to mitigate the damage are finally beginning to proliferate in a region dominated by iron ore mining. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

The phenomenon of “voçorocas” (gullies) is repeated in several parts of Itabirito and Ouro Preto, the municipalities where the Velhas river basin originates, in southeastern Brazil. The soil is vulnerable to erosion and measures to mitigate the damage are finally beginning to proliferate in a region dominated by iron ore mining. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

The Velhas River only has a small hydroelectric power plant reservoir, with a capacity of 9.28 megawatts, but it is generating only four megawatts. It is run-of-river, that is, it does not store enough water to regulate the flow or compensate for low water levels.

In addition, sedimentation has greatly reduced its storage capacity since it began to operate in 1907. The soil upstream is vulnerable to erosion and has been affected by urban and agricultural expansion, local roads and various types of mining, not only of iron ore, which aggravate the sedimentation of the rivers, said Fonseca.

Decentralized solutions

The municipal government of Itabirito, which shares the headwaters of the Velhas basin with Ouro Preto, the gold capital in the 18th century, is promoting several actions mentioned by Fonseca to mitigate erosion and feed the aquifers that sustain the flow of the rivers.

Businessman and environmentalist Ronaldo Guerra stands on his farm where he promotes ecotourism and exhibits his proposal for a succession of small dams as a mechanism for storing water on the surface and in the water table, strengthening the forests and the hydrographic basin in a mining region of southeastern Brazil where there is growing concern about the water supply. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

Businessman and environmentalist Ronaldo Guerra stands on his farm where he promotes ecotourism and exhibits his proposal for a succession of small dams as a mechanism for storing water on the surface and in the water table, strengthening the forests and the hydrographic basin in a mining region of southeastern Brazil where there is growing concern about the water supply. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

It is intriguing to see craters in some rural properties in Itabirito, especially on hills or gently sloping land.

They are “barraginhas”, explained Julio Carvalho, a forestry engineer and employee of the Municipal Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development. They are micro-dams, holes dug to slow down the runoff of rainwater that causes erosion.

This system prevents a large part of the sediment from flowing into the rivers, as well as the phenomenon of “voçorocas” (gullies, in Portuguese), products of intense erosion that abound in several parts of Itabirito and Ouro Preto, municipalities where the first tributaries of the Velhas are born.

As these are generally private lands, the municipal government obtains financing to evaluate the properties, design the interventions and put them out to bid, in agreement with the committees that oversee the watersheds, Carvalho told IPS.

The municipality of Itabirito is the "water tank" of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil. The municipal government is promoting programs aimed at revitalizing the watershed that supplies nearly half of the six million inhabitants of Greater Belo Horizonte, explains Frederico Leite, environmental secretary of the municipality, which depends on mining activity. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

The municipality of Itabirito is the “water tank” of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil. The municipal government is promoting programs aimed at revitalizing the watershed that supplies nearly half of the six million inhabitants of Greater Belo Horizonte, explains Frederico Leite, environmental secretary of the municipality, which depends on mining activity. CREDIT: Mario Osava/IPS

For country roads, which generate a great deal of erosion in the undulating topography, “dry boxes” are used, as well as small holes in the banks to retain the torrents or at least curb their speed, he said.

Other “mechanical land use and conservation practices” include recovering water sources through reforestation and fencing to prevent animals from invading water sources and trampling the surrounding areas.

Itabirito is also seeking to dredge the river of the same name, which crosses the city, to reduce sedimentation, which was aggravated by flooding in January, when the water level in the river rose unusually high.

Environmental education, a program of payments for environmental services and the expansion of conservation areas, in the city as well, are the plans implemented by Felipe Leite, secretary of environment and sustainable development of Itabirito since 2019.

“We want to create a culture of environmental preservation,” partly because “Itabirito is the water tank of Belo Horizonte,” he told IPS.

The municipal government chose to cooperate with the mining industry, especially with the Ferro Puro company, which decided to pave a road and reforest it with flowers as part of a tourism project.

In São Bartolomeu, a town in the municipality of Ouro Preto, Ronald Guerra, an ecotourism entrepreneur, proposes a succession of small dams and reservoirs as a way of retaining water, feeding the water table and preventing erosion.

On his 120-hectare farm, half of which is recognized as a Private Natural Heritage Reserve –a private initiative conservation effort – he has 13 small dams and raises fish for his restaurant and sport fishing.

The son of a doctor from Belo Horizonte, he opted for rural life and agroecology from a young age. He was secretary of environment of Ouro Preto and today he is an activist in several watershed committees, non-governmental organizations and efforts for the promotion of local culture.

Former Child Labourer, now Lawyer, Passes Light of Freedom to Others

Amar Lai, a former child labourer, is now a human rights lawyer and a trustee of the 100 Million Campaign. He was saved from child labour by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi who identified him while running an education campaign in the area where he worked alongside his parents in a quarry. Credit: Lucky Agbovar/IPS

Amar Lai, a former child labourer, is now a human rights lawyer and a trustee of the 100 Million Campaign. He was saved from child labour by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi who identified him while running an education campaign in the area where he worked alongside his parents in a quarry. Credit: Lucky Agbovar/IPS

By Fawzia Moodley
Durban, May 19 2022 – Amar Lai’s first memories are working alongside his parents and siblings in a quarry, breaking rocks. He was aged four.

Now chatting to Lai, a confident 25-year-old human rights lawyer, it is hard to believe he was once a child labourer.

But when you hear his story, it is easy to understand why this man saved by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, which rescues bonded children, has dedicated his life to the same cause.

Lai was interviewed on the sidelines of the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban until May 20, 2022. The conference has seen five days of intense discussion on how to end child labour, including exposés of hazardous working conditions the children find themselves in.

At the tender age of four, Lai was forced to work in a quarry in Rajasthan, India.  His family were destitute, so they had to work for a pittance to put food on the table. They lived in a hut.

“We used to work from morning to night, and sometimes the whole night. My family was not allowed to miss a single day of work because it meant they would not be paid, which meant no lunch or dinner.

His father, Lai recalls, was paid a “small amount of money, and that’s how we survived”.

It was back-breaking work, especially for the little ones – and dangerous.

“You had to hold a machine to break the mine, and sometimes the stones would fall down. My brother and sister were often injured because when breaking the stone, you needed to use your hands, you got cut, anything could happen.”

Going to the doctor was out of the question, so they had to make do with home remedies.

Lai said they lived very far from the city, and they knew nothing about schools nor life beyond their little isolated world.

Then something happened that changed Lai’s life: “In 2001, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi was running an education march, and moving through (the area) where we were, and they identified that my family and I were working there.”

Satyarthi convinced Lai’s parents that their children shouldn’t be working but in school – and although this was greeted initially with scepticism, he and two of his brothers eventually moved to Satyarthi’s rehabilitation centre for children rescued from child labour. The centre provides education and technical skills to the kids.

“I passed my senior high school, and then I started to think about what I should do in the future. I met many children there who were just like me or worse off. I realised that I was so lucky to get an opportunity to study, unlike millions of other child labourers.”

So, Lai decided to become a lawyer to help children like himself.

“I could fight for them in court, stand in the court to change the system, policies and regulations. I could challenge the government.”

In 2018 Lai got his law degree.

“Today, I am fighting for children who are sexually abused or are in child labour, trafficked and exploited. I am leading their cases every single day in court.”

He works for the Kailash Foundation, which provides free legal services to vulnerable children.

Lai is also a trustee of the 100 Million Campaign.

“This is a campaign started by Kailash. The idea is that we 100 million youth leaders who are educated, who understand and are privileged to have an education, need to stand up for those who are still in child labour and being exploited.”

On the foundation’s impact on his life, Lai says: “I cannot believe what the foundation did for me. I just picture myself in a house that was dark, and I couldn’t see anything and then in 2001, I came out of the house, and there were a lot of lights.

“And because of the lights, I can give some light to another child’s life. I feel I am the voice of those millions of children that are not at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour.”

Lai says he lives by Satyarthi’s rule: “You don’t need to do a lot, just do your bit”.

“If every single person can do their bit, then one day there will be no child labour in the world, and every child will get an education.”

Lai, a delegate at the conference in Durban, South Africa, which is trying to find ways to reach the UN’s goal of ending child labour by 2025, believes it’s an important platform.

“It’s very necessary because the leaders, the decision-makers, sometimes forget, sometimes neglect what they promised. They need to be reminded. And also, because the conference has given voice to children’s voices.”

He is convinced that their plea will be heard.

“I think the voice, the power we have, what we have faced we can represent, and I believe that it will make an impact because what happened to us is happening to 164 million children around the world.”

IPS UN Bureau Report

This is one of a series of stories that IPS will publish during the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour in Durban, South Africa.


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Debt Distress in Africa: Problems and Ways Forward

Food insecurity is affecting millions of people in Burkina Faso. Credit: UNICEF/Vincent Treameau

By Danny Bradlow and Magalie Masamba
PRETORIA, South Africa, May 19 2022 – The COVID pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on Africa’s sovereign debt situation. Currently, 22 countries are either in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress.

This means that African governments are struggling to pay the debts that they incurred on behalf of their states. For example, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are already in debt distress. Others at high risk include Malawi, Zambia and Comoros.

This situation is likely to be exacerbated by the war between Russia and Ukraine. The conflict is causing commodity prices, particularly food and gasoline, to rise. It is also disrupting the supply chains of critical goods like fertilisers.

The ability of countries to manage their debt is complicated by the changing composition of the debt. They now owe more money to a broader range of creditors.

In 2020, sub-Saharan Africa had a total external debt stock of US$702.4 billion, compared to US$380.9 billion in 2012. The amount owed to official creditors, including multilateral lenders, governments and government agencies, increased from about US$119 billion to US$258 billion.

Danny Bradlow

In the past, official creditors of African countries were primarily the rich Western states and multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. This group has now expanded to include China, India, Turkey and multilateral institutions like the African Export-Import Bank and the New Development Bank.

In addition, the amount of bonds issued by African states on international markets has tripled in the last 10 years. These bonds are held by a broad range of investors such as insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds, investment banks and individuals.

In our new book we address the challenges that these changes have created for sovereign debt management for the 16 countries in the Southern Africa Development Community.

We hope the book will stimulate debate among academics, activists, policymakers and practitioners on how Southern Africa Development Community should manage its debt. Five recommendations emerge from the contribution. These include the need for enhanced debt transparency and an approach to debt management that takes into account a host of factors beyond just finance.

The landscape

The book contains a series of essays initially presented in several virtual workshops held in 2020. The participants sought to understand the debt challenges facing countries in the Southern Africa Development Community. They also offered policy-oriented recommendations for dealing with them.

Magalie Masamba

The book includes contributions from a multi-disciplinary group of international experts as well as African researchers. In their contributions they discuss the complexities of debt management and restructuring – generally and in the Southern Africa Development Community member states.

They pay attention to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the debt situation but also recognise that it is only one factor contributing to the difficult debt situation in the region. Thus, they also focus on the broader domestic and international factors that are shaping debt management in the region.

In an effort to chart a way forward, the contributing authors addressed the following four themes:

    • The impact of structural changes in the global economy on the Southern Africa Development Community debt landscape. An example is the increasing importance of finance in the global economy.
    • The challenges of sovereign debt management and restructuring in the region;
    • The implications of the lack of transparency on the accumulation and use of sovereign debt;
    • Options for incorporating human rights and social considerations into sovereign debt renegotiations and restructuring.

Contributors make five key recommendations:

The first concerns debt transparency. The recommendation is that countries in the region should adopt comprehensive debt data disclosure requirements and state borrowing procedures that are transparent and participatory. The aim would be to facilitate holding relevant decision makers accountable.

Debt transparency is the cornerstone of reforming debt management. Sovereign debtors should follow well publicised, predictable and binding legal procedures in incurring new financial obligations. In addition, they should disclose the amount and contractual terms of their loans. This should include any arrangements for enhancing the security of the loan.

An example is resource-backed loans. In these loans repayment is either made in natural resources or is guaranteed by the revenues generated by the sale of the natural resource.

Sovereign debtors should disclose this information to their creditors, the multilateral financial institutions of which they are member states. They should also make the information publicly available through national platforms.

Good governance. This involves strengthening national debt management policies to deal with issues of governance.

Transparency on its own won’t ensure responsible borrowing. Debt management frameworks and practices should conform to all the principles of good governance. The list includes transparency, participation, accountability, reasoned decision-making and effective institutional arrangements.

Legal predictability. This involves strengthening contractual provisions in debt contracts.
Debt is a contractual relationship. It is therefore important – for debtors and creditors – to enter into contracts that are as comprehensive as possible. This means contracts should fairly allocate risks between the parties.

This would include, for example, accommodating who is better able and more willing to accept the risks. In addition, contracts should provide the parties with clear answers to issues that could arise between them.

This would require policymakers providing guidance to their debt managers on the terms and conditions they can accept in contractual negotiations.

Comparability of treatment during restructuring. This means that, when needed, all creditors should participate on comparable terms in any sovereign debt restructuring. Southern Africa Development Community sovereign debtors can improve creditor confidence by offering all creditors comparable treatment. This would give them comfort that any relief they provided would benefit the debtor rather than other creditors.

This should facilitate the debtor’s efforts to reach agreement with all its creditors.

A comprehensive approach. Sovereign debt is not just a financial issue. It has implications for the social, political, economic, cultural and environmental situation in the debtor country. It requires a comprehensive approach to debt restructuring that incorporates all relevant stakeholders.

This includes citizens of the debtor states, multilateral creditors, bilateral creditors, and private creditors such as bondholders, institutional investors of various sorts and commercial banks.
It also requires that all necessary issues are addressed. These range from financial sustainability to the social, human rights and environmental impacts of the restructuring.

The sovereign debtor and its creditors must therefore seek to effectively engage with each of these actors and with all of these issues.

These recommendations show that there is a need for more innovative approaches to sovereign debt. One possible approach is the DOVE (Debts of Vulnerable Economies) Fund. It will use funds raised from all the stakeholders in sovereign debt to buy the bonds of African debtors in distress and commit to only agree to a debt restructuring that complies with a set of published principles based on international standards that support a comprehensive approach to the debt restructuring.

Source: The Conversation which was founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2011 and now operates as a global network of sites with dedicated teams working in Australia, the US, the UK, France, Africa, Indonesia, Spain and Canada.
https://theconversation.com/debt-distress-in-africa-biggest-problems-and-ways-forward-182716

Danny Bradlow SARCHI Chair is funded by the National Research Foundation. He received funding from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) for this book project. Magalie Masamba receives funding from Danny Bradlow’s SARCHI Chair and Oxfam South Africa. Magalie is a co-editor and co-author in this book project funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).

IPS UN Bureau

 


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Centrient Pharmaceuticals announces its achievement of a significant milestone in the clean production of antibiotics

Rijswijk, The Netherlands, May 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

Summary

  • Centrient Pharmaceuticals reached a significant milestone in the clean production of its antibiotics, with the lowest environmental impact and minimizing the potential contribution to antimicrobial resistance
  • The company is the first to publicly announce that Its entire supply chain of oral antibiotics "" including its own and supplier manufacturing sites – is fully compliant with the stringent Predicted No Effect Concentration (PNEC) discharge targets set by the AMR Industry Alliance
  • This achievement demonstrates Centrient Pharmaceuticals' commitment and leadership in the responsible production of antibiotics.

Centrient Pharmaceuticals announces 100% compliance with the stringent Predicted No Effect Concentration (PNEC) discharge targets set by the AMR Industry Alliance for clean manufacturing of its full oral antibiotics product range. This standard covers both Centrient's sites and its suppliers' sites. This achievement positions the company as a frontrunner in the industry with the delivery of responsibly–produced antibiotics, which minimize the possible contribution to antimicrobial resistance.

The PNEC discharge target is the concentration of an antibiotic in water at which there is unlikely to be a risk of adverse environmental effects or of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) developing. These scientific, risk–based targets were developed by the AMR Industry Alliance and cover around 120 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in antibiotic manufacturing. Each individual antibiotic has a corresponding PNEC value, published in the AMR Industry Alliance table of Recommended PNECs for Risk Assessments (updated periodically).

High concentrations of antibiotic residues in factory wastewater can create hotspots of resistant bacteria which may lead to AMR. While manufacturing is just one of the contributors to the emergence of AMR in the environment, its impact cannot be overlooked. AMR is a major threat to global public health as well as to the healthcare industry. Many standard medical procedures such as organ transplants, chemotherapy, and surgeries such as caesarean sections become much more dangerous without effective antibiotics to prevent and treat infections. Antibiotics are the cornerstone of our modern healthcare system, and complying with PNEC standards enables manufacturers to ensure supply of these critically important medicines does not contribute to the risk of AMR.

The PNEC values are increasingly being recognized as the standard for antibiotic discharge concentrations in water and are expanding beyond Alliance companies and their supply chains. For example, tenders in the UK and Germany (health insurer AOK) include a specific reference to the PNEC discharge targets. Also, companies assessed externally by organizations such as the Access to Medicine Foundation will have public exposure for their performance on PNECs.

As a strong advocate for sustainable manufacturing, Centrient Pharmaceuticals became a founding board member of the AMR Industry Alliance in 2017, working with partners to raise awareness and deliver solutions to the AMR issue. Since then, the company's own journey to reaching full compliance has included establishing state–of–the–art wastewater treatment facilities at all their sites worldwide and developing tests for measuring antibiotic activity in wastewater streams, leading to a fully clean and PNEC–compliant supply chain.

"We are proud to be the first in our industry to publicly announce PNEC compliance for our oral antibiotics product supply chain.

At Centrient Pharmaceuticals, our commitment to Sustainability is in our DNA "" we ensure that the way in which we produce pharmaceuticals has the lowest environmental impact and does not contribute to AMR. We are proud of our PureActives enzymatic low–carbon technology, ISO 14001 certification of all our sites, and Board positions at the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative and AMR Industry Alliance.

We will continue to work with customers, suppliers, industry and government decision–makers across the value chain to make the supply and buying of antibiotics sustainable to curb AMR.", says Rex Clements, CEO at Centrient Pharmaceuticals.

Read our whitepaper "Manufacturing sustainable antibiotics for the future' here.

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About Centrient Pharmaceuticals

Centrient Pharmaceuticals is the global leader in the production and commercialisation of sustainable antibiotics, next–generation statins, and anti–fungals. We produce and sell intermediates, active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage forms.

We stand proudly at the centre of modern healthcare, as a maker of essential and life–saving medicines. With our commitment to Quality, Reliability and Sustainability at the heart of everything we do, our over 2,200 employees work continuously to meet our customers' needs. We work towards a sustainable future by actively participating in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Founded 150 years ago as the "Nederlandsche Gist– en Spiritusfabriek', our company was known as Gist Brocades and more recently DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals. Headquartered in Rijswijk (Netherlands), we have production facilities and sales offices in China, India, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States and Mexico. Centrient Pharmaceuticals is wholly owned by Bain Capital Private Equity, a leading global private investment firm.

For more information please visit www.centrient.com or contact Centrient Pharmaceuticals Corporate Communications, Alice Beijersbergen, Director Branding & Communications. E–Mail: alice.beijersbergen@centrient.com.

About the AMR Industry Alliance

The AMR Industry Alliance was formed in 2017. With approximately 100 life sciences companies and trade associations, it represents nearly one–third of the volume of sales and the majority of all novel products. Members have committed to report on activities they are undertaking in the areas of research & science, access to antibiotics and appropriate use of these, as well as responsible environmental manufacturing to tackle the rapid spread of antimicrobial resistance. If AMR remains unchecked, the annual death toll could climb from 700,000 each year to 10 million by 2050 and the economic impacts could be on par with those of the 2008 financial crisis. The AMR Industry Alliance ensures that signatories collectively deliver on the specific commitments made in the Industry Declaration on AMR and the Roadmap for Progress on Combating AMR and measures progress made in the fight against AMR.

Forward–looking statements

This press release may contain forward–looking statements with respect to Centrient Pharmaceuticals' future financial performance and position. Such statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections of Centrient and information currently available to the company. Centrient cautions readers that such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict and therefore it should be understood that many factors can cause actual performance and position to differ materially from these statements. Centrient has no obligation to update the statements contained in this press release, unless required by law. The English language version of the press release is governing.


Mainz Biomed & Dante Labs Announce Partnership for the Commercialization of ColoAlert in Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • Dante Labs is a Global Leader in Genomics and Precision Medicine
  • Mainz is Exclusively Focused on Developing Next Generation Diagnostics for the Early Detection of Cancer

BERKELEY, Calif. and MAINZ, Germany and NEW YORK, May 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Mainz Biomed N.V. (NASDAQ:MYNZ) ("Mainz" or the "Company"), a molecular genetics diagnostic company specializing in the early detection of cancer and Dante Labs, a global leader in genomics and precision medicine, announced today a partnership for the commercialization of ColoAlert in Italy and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). ColoAlert is Mainz's flagship product, a highly efficacious and easy to use at–home detection test for colorectal cancer (CRC).

Dante Labs is a global leader in genome sequencing with a product development and commercial franchise focused on providing personalized preventive healthcare solutions by leveraging its robust databases and proprietary software platform to offer next–generation diagnostic tools direct to consumers and healthcare professionals. Inherent to Dante Lab's business model is managing state–of–the–art genomic sequencing laboratories in multiple international regions, and operating a robust e–commerce platform.

"As a young company with the goal of bringing to market important diagnostic tools to help treat and prevent cancer indications, it's an absolute pleasure to partner with an industry leader such as Dante Labs," commented Guido Baechler, Chief Executive Officer of Mainz Biomed. "Our differentiated commercial plan of partnering with third–party laboratories for test kit processing versus the traditional methodology of operating a single facility requires alliances with like–minded companies such as Dante Labs, who share our passion for forward–thinking diagnostic test development and marketing strategies."

The partnership will first launch ColoAlert in Italy and UAE using Dante's various established commercial channels. Samples will initially be processed at Mainz's in–house facility and then Dante will purchase Mainz's CE–IVD polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay kits and transition all test processing to Dante's wholly–owned automated genomic sequencing laboratories in Italy (Europe) and Dubai (UAE) to offer localized service and support.

"We are excited by the opportunity to align with Mainz and represent ColoAlert in these initial markets," commented Andrea Riposati, Chief Executive Officer of Dante Labs. "Both the product and the Company mirror our mission to develop and market top–tier preventive health solutions and use new channels to make innovative tests available to more patients around the world. With the launch of our enhanced ecommerce platforms for advanced diagnostics, ColoAlert is an amazing product to deliver more personalized medicine."

ColoAlert is currently marketed across Europe, and the partnership with Dante Labs marks the test's initial launch in the Middle East. Mainz will continue to develop commercial and R&D partnerships with companies that lead the field of health screening with a particular focus on stool diagnostics.

About ColoAlert

ColoAlert detects colorectal cancer (CRC) via a simple–to–administer test with a sensitivity and specificity nearly as high as the invasive colonoscopy*. The test utilizes proprietary methods to analyze cell DNA for specific tumor markers combined with the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and is designed to detect tumor DNA and CRC cases in their earliest stages. The product is CE–IVD marked (complying with EU safety, health and environmental requirements) and is transitioning to compliance with IVDR. The product is commercially available in a selection of countries in the Europe Union. Mainz Biomed currently distributes ColoAlert through a number of clinical affiliates. Once approved in the U.S., the Company's commercial strategy is to establish scalable distribution through a collaborative partner program with regional and national laboratory service providers across the country.

*Dollinger MM et al. (2018)

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most lethal cancer in the U.S. and Europe, but also the most preventable with early detection providing survival rates above 90%. Annual testing costs per patient are minimal, especially when compared to late–stage treatments of CRC which cost patients an average of $38,469 per year. The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2021 there were approximately 149,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancer in the U.S. with 52,980 resulting in death. Recent FDA decisions suggest that screening with stool DNA tests such as ColoAlert in the US should be conducted once every three years starting at age 45. Currently there are 112 million Americans aged 50+, a total that is expected to increase to 157 million within 10 years. Appropriately testing these US–based 50+ populations every three years as prescribed equates to a US market opportunity of approximately $3.7 Billion per year.

About Mainz Biomed N.V.

Mainz Biomed develops market–ready molecular genetic diagnostic solutions for life–threatening conditions. The Company's flagship product is ColoAlert, an accurate, non–invasive, and easy–to–use early detection diagnostic test for colorectal cancer. ColoAlert is currently marketed across Europe with FDA clinical study and submission process intended to be launched in the first half of 2022 for U.S. regulatory approval. Mainz Biomed's product candidate portfolio includes PancAlert, an early–stage pancreatic cancer screening test based on Real–Time Polymerase Chain Reaction–based (PCR) multiplex detection of molecular–genetic biomarkers in stool samples, and the GenoStick technology, a platform being developed to detect pathogens on a molecular genetic basis.

For more information please visit www.mainzbiomed.com

For media enquiries, please contact press@mainzbiomed.com

For investor enquiries, please contact ir@mainzbiomed.com

About Dante Labs
Dante Labs is a global genomic information company building and commercializing a new class of transformative health and longevity applications based on whole genome sequencing and AI. The Company uses its platform to deliver better patient outcomes from diagnostics to therapeutics with assets including one of the largest private genome databases with research consent, proprietary software designed to unleash the power of genomic data at scale and proprietary processes which enable an industrial approach to genomic sequencing.

Contact:

Laura D'Angelo
VP of Investor Relations
ir@dantelabs.com
+39 0862 191 0671
www.dantelabs.com

Forward–Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this press release are "forward–looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward–looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as "anticipate", "believe", "expect", "estimate", "plan", "outlook", and "project" and other similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. These forward–looking statements reflect the current analysis of existing information and are subject to various risks and uncertainties. As a result, caution must be exercised in relying on forward–looking statements. Due to known and unknown risks, actual results may differ materially from the Company's expectations or projections. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward–looking statements: (i) the failure to meet projected development and related targets; (ii) changes in applicable laws or regulations; (iii) the effect of the COVID–19 pandemic on the Company and its current or intended markets; and (iv) other risks and uncertainties described herein, as well as those risks and uncertainties discussed from time to time in other reports and other public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") by the Company. Additional information concerning these and other factors that may impact the Company's expectations and projections can be found in its initial filings with the SEC, including its Prospectus filed on October 12, 2021 and amended on October 25, 2021 and November 1, 2021 as well as the Prospectus filed on January 21, 2022. The Company's SEC filings are available publicly on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Any forward–looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to Mainz Biomed and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Mainz Biomed undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward–looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.


As COVID Wanes, Tuberculosis Deaths Must Become Visible

Tuberculosis has killed 1,5 million people in 2020 - mostly in African and Asian countries - while two million people died of COVID-19 worldwide during the same period. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS

Tuberculosis has killed 1,5 million people in 2020 – mostly in African and Asian countries – while two million people died of COVID-19 worldwide during the same period. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS

By Angelique Luabeya Kany Kany
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 19 2022 – It is time to treat the scourge of Tuberculosis scourge with the same urgency as we did the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we emerge from the devastating toll of the pandemic on people’s lives and on global economies, we must wake up to face the staggering toll of 1.5 million Tuberculosis deaths and 10 million new infections recorded in 2020. And these deaths were mostly in African and Asian countries.

These deaths were largely invisible as we fought COVID-19. Even as countries lift COVID-19 restrictions due to declining numbers, we know that Tuberculosis continues to spread.

Access to Tuberculosis care was also hampered by the pandemic restrictions and COVID-19 prioritization on diagnostic and care at healthcare facilities. The World Health Organization (WHO) goal is to reduce new TB cases by 90% and TB deaths by 95% by 2035. We have 13 years left to reach that milestone.

Unfortunately, most people at risk of Tuberculosis are from low- and middle-income countries who will not afford costly vaccines or drugs. The incentive for these big pharma companies to invest in Tuberculosis vaccine development is low.

The harsh reality is that we still don’t have a protective vaccine, and drug resistant TB cases are rising. While research is ongoing, a critical factor hampering progress is the lack of funding. The only TB vaccine available, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) developed 1920, has limited efficacy.

The relatively quick availability of several vaccines, treatment, and diagnosis for COVID-19 illustrates how billions of dollars in funding can speed up vaccine development against a new deadly disease. For example, the funding available for COVID-19 vaccine development is estimated at 107 billions of dollars while only 0.117 billions available for Tuberculosis.

Yet Tuberculosis has killed 1,5 million people in 2020 – mostly in African and Asian countries – while two million people died of COVID-19 worldwide during the same period. To date, there are 109 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 and only 14 for TB. As noted, we only have one Tuberculosis vaccine while there are 18 vaccines available for COVID 19 .

Tuberculosis research needs at least US$15-billion to have a chance to reach the 2035 target. At the moment, researchers have access to only half of this amount.

Why is funding for a deadly and centuries old disease lacking?

One can argue that Tuberculosis research is too expensive. We have several phases for testing any new drugs or vaccines in clinical trials. Before testing in humans, new drugs and vaccines are tested in animals for adequate safety and immune response. Then there are at least four phases of testing in clinical trials. The next cost implication is that there are several strains of the Tuberculosis bacteria which increases testing costs.

Tuberculosis is a chronic disease with slow progression from infection to disease. Measuring vaccine efficacy requires resources, time and a large sample size of people participating in these studies. These steps increase complexity and cost for Tuberculosis vaccine development. But these costs are small compared to what we spend on COVID-19 research.

Could the reluctance in funding stem from the fact that the Tuberculosis burden falls largely on poor countries in the global South? Tuberculosis is not a pandemic, so the global urge to find a vaccine or drugs is different.

Pharmaceutical companies usually invest in drugs and vaccines from which they can earn profits. Rich countries therefore have other health priorities. Whereas rich countries were impacted by COVID-19, Tuberculosis is largely managed there.

Unfortunately, most people at risk of Tuberculosis are from low- and middle-income countries who will not afford costly vaccines or drugs. The incentive for these big pharma companies to invest in Tuberculosis vaccine development is low.

In the 2016 report of “The catalytic framework to end AIDS, TB and eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030”, the African union (AU) itself noted that “funding for research and innovation is not prioritized in AU members, intra Africa cooperation lags behind and partnerships are still largely drawn outside Africa”. While external funding is critical, African countries should reinforce and rethink strategies to accelerate Tuberculosis vaccine and drugs development.

As we roll out COVID-19 vaccines and ARVs are made available to HIV patients, we must renew our efforts to do the same with Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis carries a high cost of infection, treatment and death. It is the biggest killer for HIV patients.

African and Asian countries should invest in seeking a vaccine and drug development because they have the heaviest burden. In addition, they must strengthen weak health systems and bolster efforts to identify and adequately treat Tuberculosis cases to stop transmissions.

HIV and COVID-19 pandemics have shown that money can be released when human kind is threatened. The rapid spread of SARS-CoV2 illustrates the fact that the modern world is a global village.

The world should wake up to the rise of microbial resistance that includes Tuberculosis Drug resistant Tuberculosis is a real threat to humanity.

We should not wait for a COVID-like crisis to act. We need to harness the partnerships from this pandemic to prevent another. A world without Tuberculosis feels like a dream. An efficient vaccine can make it come true.

Dr Angelique Luabeya Kany Kany is the Chief research officer at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, University of Cape Town. Dr Luabeya is the Principal investigator of several novel TB vaccines clinical trials, two COVID 19 vaccine trials and diagnostics studies. She is a WHO-TDR Clinical research and development fellow.