Dam breaks in southeast Brazil, causing casualties

Dam breaks in southeast Brazil, causing casualties

Dam breaks in southeast Brazil, causing casualties

Brazilian mining giant Vale was hit with an initial $66.5 million fine Saturday over a dam collapse at one of its mines a day earlier that killed at least 10 people and left hundreds missing.

Rescuers have mapped out four points where people still could be found alive, including a cafeteria buried in sludge around lunchtime, a police spokesman said.

A structure is in ruins after a dam collapsed near Brumadinho, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.

That dam was also administrated by Vale, along with Australian mining company BHP Billiton.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company said the accident occurred Friday afternoon, adding the leaked tailings from the Feijão mine had spread into the mine's administrative area and to parts of the local community Vila Forteco, near the town of Brumadinho.

Seven bodies were recovered Friday hours after the disaster, which saw a torrent of mud break through the disused dam at the iron-ore mine close to the city of Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerias, around 1:00 pm. Others were in residential areas and at a...

President Jair Bolsonaro said he lamented the accident and sent three cabinet ministers to the area.

"I don't think he is alive", said Joao Bosco, speaking of his cousin, Jorge Luis Ferreira, who worked for Vale.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.


"We will take all the possible steps to minimize the suffering of families and victims", Bolsonaro said in a speech, which he posted on Twitter.

Schvartsman, who had his two-year term renewed last month by Vale's board, said it was an "inactive dam" that was in the process of being decommissioned that burst apart "very violently, very suddenly".

Schvartsman said what happened Friday was "a human tragedy much larger than the tragedy of Mariana, but probably the environmental damage will be less".

More than a dozen helicopters flew over the area on Saturday to survey the disaster and aid the rescue teams.

Vale, the company that operates the dame, is the country's largest mining company, according to The Associated Press.

US -listed shares of Vale were down 7 percent in mid-afternoon trading.

Former environmental minister and presidential candidate Marina Silva said Brazilian authorities and private miners had not learned anything from the 2015 Samarco disaster near the city of Mariana and called it unacceptable.

The complex produced 26 million tonnes of iron ore in 2017, or about 7 percent of Vale's output, with Corrego do Feijao accounting for 7.8 million tonnes, according to the company's website.

Brumadinho's municipality issued an alert on social media warning residents to move away from the Paraopeba river that the dam had been holding back.

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