Deadly Brazil dam burst likely had same cause as previous one

Christopher Davidson
February 4, 2019

Earlier on Saturday, officials announced that the death toll from the collapse has risen to 115 dead and 248 missing.

At least 60 people have been confirmed dead and an estimated 292 remained missing at Vale SA after a dam storing mine waste at the Corrego de Feijao mine in Brumadinho on Friday.

People pray outside the Brumadinho Matriz Church during a service mourning the missing people and victims in the community of Parque das Cachoeiras, after the dam collapse, January 31, 2019.

That was also the cause of another dam burst, at a mine co-owned by Vale, in 2015.

The company that owns the ore mine, Vale SA, has been ordered to pay a fine of 250 million reals (US$66.32 million) for various violations that led to the collapse - one of the biggest environmental penalties in Brazil's history. Vale described the document as a routine disaster preparation plan required by regulators. The dam, which held back mining waste, gave way and unleashed a wave of mud that buried buildings nearby. Brazilian authorities arrested five people they believe to be directly responsible, including two engineers from a German company contracted to inspect the dam.

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The study envisaged that sirens would alert workers if the dam burst.

Authorities and environmental organisations have begun testing water quality around the mining complex, while state and federal authorities have told residents to refrain from using water directly from the Paraopeba or 100m around it.

"Everybody, the majority, worked in mining", he said.

In the wake of the disaster, Vale has said it will take up to 10 percent of its production offline and spend 5 billion reais ($1.36 billion) to decommission 10 dams.

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