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Kallanish Kallanish

Knowledge matters Knowledge matters

August, 17th 2019

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FEB 05

Brazilian court halts another Vale mine tailings operation


A court in the Belo Horizonte district of Brazil’s Minas Gerais state has suspended operations at Vale`s eight tailing dams at the Brucutu mine on 4 February, Kallanish learns from a Public Prosecution Office statement. This measure follows the rupture of Dam 1 at the Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho on 25 January. 

Vale confirmed that it was aware of the court's decision which determined, among other measures, “… that the company must refrain from disposing tailings or practicing any activity potentially capable of increasing the risks of the Laranjeiras, Menezes II, Capitão do Mato, Dique B, Taquaras, Forquilha I, Forquilha II and Forquilha III dams”.

According to the miner, only the Forquilha dams were built by the upstream method, all of which are currently inactive. The other five structures were built by the conventional method with the sole purpose of sediment containment with exception of the Laranjeiras dam. "All dams are duly licensed, having the respective stability reports in force,” the miner says in a note. “There is no technical basis nor risk assessment, that justifies the suspension of any of these dams and Vale will take the appropriate legal measures in relation to this decision.”

The estimated impact of the temporary suspension of the Laranjeiras dam is nearly 30 million tonnes/year of iron ore, Vale confirms.

The latest Brazilian media reports suggest that the Córrego do Feijão dam failure has so far resulted in 134 fatalities. A further 199 people remain unaccounted for as a result of the ensuing mudslide.