Responding to Brazilian Mining Tragedy: Entrepreneurs Earn High Praise For Life Improving Donation

Category: News, Press-release

March 12, 2019 PETERBOROUGH, ON – Thousands of miles from Peterborough, the town of Brumadinho Brazil and at least a dozen nearby rural communities received a life-improving boost this week in their struggle to survive the aftermath of a devastating mining disaster that buried homes, businesses, roads and farms with thousands of tonnes of mining waste and debris.

Headlines were generated around the world on January 25 when a tailings dam of the Corrego do Feijao iron ore mine in southeastern Brazil burst, leaving 182 people confirmed dead, at least 100 others missing. And, as the region works to recover and avert further tragedy, they are facing severe odds that, until this week, included a desperate lack of potable water in surrounding areas.

Through a remarkable collaboration of local Peterborough business Prima IP, the Brazilian Consulate of  Toronto and the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce (BCCC), Innovation Cluster – Peterborough Kawartha (Cluster) this week committed to send state-of-art water purification technology and equipment to the devastated region. The equipment is expected to produce fully drinkable water at a
rate of nearly 10,000 liters a day.

“This is truly an amazing story and we are thrilled we could help make this happen,” says Cluster CEO Michael Skinner who explained how his friend, Cluster Knowledge Partner and Program Sponsor Marcelo Konig Sarkis, P.Eng., founder of Prima IP Intellectual Property Services and past president of the BCCC, reached out to the Innovation Cluster and the Brazilian Consulate in Toronto.

“I saw the reports of the dam breach and felt I had to do something. I thought of the water technology focus of the Cluster and reached out to Michael Skinner, the Brazilian Consulate in Toronto and the BCCC,” stated Mr. Sarkis.

“We just wanted to know how we could help in the wake of such a disaster and the Innovation Cluster’s access to water purification technology turned out to be the answer they were looking for,” adds Mr. Skinner noting that the Cluster’s Water Innovation Specialist John Gillis was integral in getting the equipment ready for transport and set up in Brazil. The gravity fed, stand-alone water purification unit weighing less than 13 kilograms and standing about 1.5 meters tall, has a proven track record in some of the most forbidding places in the world.

Ademar Seabra, Deputy Consul of the Brazilian Consulate in Toronto remarked, “This is a great gesture from Canada. We are grateful to Michael Skinner and the Innovation Cluster, Marcelo Konig Sarkis, of Prima IP and the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) of Canada for this initiative. Brazil and the people of the Brumadinho will not forget this gesture of International support from Peterborough,” he added.

Mr. Skinner and Mr. Gillis were invited to speak about the Peterborough initiative at the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Conference this week in Toronto. To the applause of hundreds, Mr. Skinner described the events leading up to the deployment of the water purification equipment to Brazil and has since heard strong interest in applying the Canadian developed water purification technology in mining operations around the world.


About the Innovation Cluster

The Innovation Cluster is a not-for-profit organization that drives innovative, determined entrepreneurs in the formation and growth of their technology-based companies. Supporting four key sectors, agtech, digital, healthcare and with a strong focus on cleantech, the Innovation Cluster’s dynamic programming and mentoring ensures startups find their best path to market. The Innovation Cluster operates The Cube, Peterborough’s two full-service incubators located in downtown Peterborough and at Trent University. Core Funding is provided by Ontario Centres of Excellence, Trent University, Fleming College, Peterborough Region Angel Network, FedDev Ontario and the City of Peterborough. For more information visit

For more information, contact :
Michael Skinner, President & CEO
Innovation Cluster
(705) 563-1101 Ext 902

About Prima IP

Prima IP is an intellectual property services firm providing quality intellectual property advice and services to multinationals, SMEs, start-ups and individual entrepreneurs with a focus on value whilst securing and enforcing intellectual property rights with the collaboration of international partners. For more information visit http://

For more information, contact:
Marcelo Konig Sarkis, P. Eng. Founder and Senior Patent Agent Prima IP
(705) 775-4448

About the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce

Established in 1973, Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) is a not-for-profit and independent business association held by the private sector with a primary objective of fostering stronger commercial relations between Brazil and Canada. Led by a volunteer Board of Directors, President and Vice-President, comprised of renowned industry leaders and experts in conducting business between Brazil and Canada, BCCC plays a vital role in linking players from Brazilian and Canadian private and government sectors facilitating dialogue between both parties and assisting members in identifying key opportunities to expand their activities and further their business interests.

For more information, contact:
Carolina Albernaz
Director, Business Development & Operations
(416) 646 6770 | (416) 722 1243 | |



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