Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Brumadinho dam, which left 270 dead and missing in Brazil, "could have been avoided"

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The Vale mining group did not inform the authorities of any anomalies. Unlike previous reports, a new report of irregularities.

Time to Reading 2 min.

A view after the break-up of the Brumadinho dam in Brazil. MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP

Brazilian mining group Vale failed to inform mining authorities of anomalies at the Brumadinho dam, which broke more than 270 dead and missing in January, according to a report by the National Mine Agency (ANM) Tuesday, November 5th.

"If the ANM had been informed properly, it could have required emergency measures from the company, which could have prevented the disaster"said the agency in a statement. The ANM explains that the information it received from Vale before the dam broke "Did not match the elements presented in internal documents of the mining group".

The new 194-page report discusses problems with a water drainage system in the dam structure installed in June 2018, six months before the tragedy, which took place on January 25. In addition, the ANM says it has not been informed of Vale's unusually high water pressure levels on January 10, two weeks before the tragedy.

The agency said it received a January 30 report from Vale dated January 8 that no anomaly was found. But another report received on February 15 and dated January 22, three days before the breakup, reported "All irregularities" who would have caused the drama.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Vale and the mining industry in Brazil, in the turmoil of the Brumadinho tragedy

A major ecological disaster

Vale, the world's largest iron ore group, said on Tuesday that it would only comment on the MNA report once it had "Fully analyzed" and stressed that "All information on the state of conservation of the dam has been provided to the investigating authorities".

On September 20, the Brazilian police recommended the indictment of employees of Vale and the German audit firm TÜV SÜD for falsifying documents to prove the strength of the dam.

Tuesday, in Brasilia, photos of victims had been posted in the room where the final meeting of a parliamentary commission of inquiry on the Brumadinho tragedy took place, in the presence of members of their families. "What I ask is that those who committed this crime be punished so that they feel what we feel"said Geraldo Resende, who lost his 33-year-old daughter during the dam breakup. Vale was ordered to pay nearly $ 3 million to the first three families.

The dam rupture released millions of tonnes of mine tailings that swallowed an entire region and caused a major ecological disaster. Brazil has since ordered the dismantling of all the Brumadinho-type dams, which are cheaper but more unstable.

Read also In Brazil, after the Brumadinho tragedy, 4,000 dams present a "high risk"

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