Vale accused of suppressing dam-safety concerns


The dam rupture caused a fierce deluge. (Photo courtesy of Midia Ninja)

To hear Brazilian mining giant Vale describe it, the catastrophic Jan. 25 collapse of one of its iron-ore tailings dams in Minas Gerais state was an unforeseen accident that has galvanized it to ensure such a thing never reoccurs. Such statements draw skepticism. That’s because in Nov. 2015, a tailings dam of Samarco, a mine co-owned by Vale elsewhere in Minas Gerais, ruptured, killing 19 people and fouling 370 miles (595 kms) of the Doce River—and Vale said much the same thing. But the company’s assertions have come under particularly heavy fire in recent days from officials investigating the Jan 25 dam failure, which has left at least 179 people dead, 131 still missing, and over 250 kilometers (155 miles) of the Paraopeba River contaminated. In a Feb. 15 news conference, Minas Gerais prosecutors ascribed the disaster to “an intentional crime.” They and civil police alleged Vale... [Log in to read more]

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