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Montevideo, March 24th 2019 - 15:40 UTC

Brazil bans upstream mining dams following the Brumadinho disaster that killed 300

Tuesday, February 19th 2019 - 08:39 UTC
Full article 35 comments
The dams, which hold mining byproducts, are cheaper to build but present higher security risks because their walls are constructed over a base of muddy mining The dams, which hold mining byproducts, are cheaper to build but present higher security risks because their walls are constructed over a base of muddy mining
In January, one such dam operated by miner Vale SA, the world's largest iron ore miner, collapsed, unleashing a wave of mud that likely killed more than 300 people In January, one such dam operated by miner Vale SA, the world's largest iron ore miner, collapsed, unleashing a wave of mud that likely killed more than 300 people

Brazil's government on Monday banned new upstream mining dams and ordered the decommissioning of all such dams by 2021, targeting the type of structure that burst last month in the town of Brumadinho, killing hundreds of people.

Those dams, which hold mining byproducts, are cheaper to build but present higher security risks because their walls are constructed over a base of muddy mining waste rather than on solid ground.

In January, one such dam operated by miner Vale SA, the world's largest iron ore miner, collapsed, unleashing a wave of mud that bulldozed nearby structures and has likely killed more than 300 people.

The move by Brazil's mining regulator, which would impact some 50 upstream mining dams in Brazil's mining heartland of Minas Gerais state alone, is the strongest governmental response yet to the disaster.

The new regulation orders mining companies to present independently-produced decommission plans by August and ensure that those plans are executed by 2021.

Several mid-level Vale company executives have been arrested in the wake of the disaster, which comes less than four years after a similar deadly collapse at another upstream dam co-owned by Vale and BHP Group.

While Vale has said it considered the Brumadinho dam to be safe, an October 2018 report showed that the company classified the dam as being two times more likely to fail than the maximum level of risk tolerated under internal guidelines.

Around 200 residents were evacuated from an area near another dam operated by Vale late on Saturday, amid fears that it was structurally weak and could also collapse.

Categories: Energy & Oil, Politics, Brazil.

Top Comments

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  • DemonTree

    Good decision. If the government had done this after the previous dam collapse those hundreds of people might still be alive.

    Feb 19th, 2019 - 09:12 am 0
  • :o))

    @DemonTree

    By now, you must know that the decisions, plans, budgets & the announcements are ALWAYS breathtaking! :o)) The devil is in the “minute details” such as effective & efficient actions! For Example:
    - The San Francisco River Project [after spending billions during 10 or so years, it is still at the “Blue-Print Stage”
    - The Nuclear Energy Project [as above]
    - The Amazonas Project
    - etc
    - etc
    - etc.

    Feb 19th, 2019 - 02:25 pm 0
  • Chicureo

    :o)) DemonTree Jack

    If you look back on my posts on Brazil, I've repeatedly referenced personally spending a lot of time in Petrolina and Juazeiro located on the São Francisco River. The cities are located in an arid region just below the largest man made reservoir in South America. Hundreds of thousands of hectares are being irrigated because of that and the potential for far more is viable with the proposed project.

    They produce very good quality grapes and mangos for export there.

    The problem ten years ago and today is the high level of corruption and outright theft. For DECADES a new bridge between the two cities facing each other on the river has been repeatedly funded and then the funds mysteriously disappear.

    It's not just the PT that's been abusing and plundering the local wealth, it's nearly ally the political officials and government departments.

    The dam failure in the other articles are because of the traditional ingrained corruption of the country and Bolsonaro must vigorously eliminate it.

    Feb 19th, 2019 - 10:04 pm 0
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