Cory Fischer-Hoffman: Excavating Bethlehem Steel's Mining History in Brazil

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Many minerals are needed in steel production, including iron ore, limestone, and manganese. Amidst panic around shortages of manganese in the United States in the 1940s, the US government launched a series of policies and programs to gain access to this essential "strategic mineral." As a direct response to these policies, from 1949-1984, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation jointly owned a subsidiary company that commenced the first large-scale industrial mining operation in the Brazilian Amazon. The subsidiary company, Industria e Comercio de Minerios, SA, opened manganese mines in the remote jungle and built a 120-mile train connecting the mine to the Amazon River port, from where it shipped the mineral to the US and eventually worldwide. Employees lived in company towns at both the mine site and port, and the operations that unearthed the manganese shaped the geography, politics, economy, environment, and social worlds of people across the Federal Territory of Amapá. This presentation will unearth the company’s transnational history and show that, beyond being a steelmaker, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation was also a multinational mining company. Cory Fischer-Hoffman is an interdisciplinary scholar, media maker, and oral historian. She is writing a book about the Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s century-long history of mining operations in Latin America. Join us in Maginnes Hall room 101 on Tuesday, April 16th at 4:30pm for Cary Fischer-Hoffman's public lecture on "Excavating Bethlehem Steel's Mining History in Brazil."

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