Vale to cut output, shut down dams after Brazil disaster

02 February, 2019, 07:43 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • MAURO PIMENTEL  AFP  Getty Images

"Vale will continue to support the investigations in order to determine the facts, in addition to the unconditional support to the families", it added.

"A lot of communities and cities in different states depend on that river to live", said Carlos Rittl, a director at Brazil's Climate Observatory environmental nonprofit group. This is a design that has always been banned in earthquake-prone mining countries such as Chile and Peru because tailings are used to gradually build the embankment walls, making a dam susceptible to damage and cracks.

At the headquarters for the local mining union, which lost more than one in 10 members by organizers' count, treasurer José Francisco Mateiro blamed the company and authorities for putting him and his comrades at risk.

Accidents on this scale trigger a domino effect, said Malu Ribeiro, a project coordinator at SOS Mata Atlantica, a nonprofit organization that has been monitoring water quality since a similar disaster in the area in 2015.

"Authorities say numerous missing are likely buried deep in mud", Catherine Osborn reports for NPR's Newsdesk from Brumadinho.

"Da Silva said she last spoke to her son before he went to work on Friday, when around midday a dam holding back mine waste collapsed, sending waves of mud for kilometers (miles) and burying much in its path".

The tailings dam - used to store muddy, mineral-laced mining waste - ruptured on Friday, sending 13 million tons of sludge across the mine's administrative and cafeteria buildings, where employees were packed in for lunch, and down into the surrounding countryside and the Paraopeba river.

Brazilian authorities say up to 300 people are still missing after iron ore waste from a mine that flooded the mine complex and nearby neighborhoods in the southeastern city of Brumadinho.

The dam storing iron ore waste from Brazilian mining company Vale SA was breached on Friday.

Pedro Vilela  Getty Images
Pedro Vilela Getty Images

That earlier rupture killed 19 and caused what was considered the country's worst-ever environmental catastrophe.

TUEV Sued, based in Munich, confirmed Monday that it had conducted a periodic review of dams for Brazilian mining company Vale in July 2018 and a regular inspection of dam safety in September a year ago.

The official death toll at the Corrego do Feijao mine has reached 84, but nearly 300 people are still missing.

The death toll from Brazil's collapsed tailings dam climbed to 58, with 305 people still missing in southeast Brazil's Minas Gerais state, said local authorities on Monday.

Three Vale employees, including two senior managers at Corrego do Feijao, were arrested on Tuesday.

The company's American depository shares on the New York Stock Exchange were up 3 per cent Tuesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange, to $11.54 each, after falling almost 18 per cent on Monday.

Vale's reputation has taken a severe blow, especially as the disaster happened three years after a similar dam break at another of its mines in the same state of Minas Gerais.

A view of a dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA after it collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil on January 29.

In a statement sent to The Associated Press on Tuesday, the agency said it had asked Vale to "remove the dead fish, which are having an impact on the indigenous population". It was a sign of the growing anger at Vale over the disaster.

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