Brazilian officials freeze more Vale assets over dam collapse

Andrew Cummings
February 2, 2019

Video has emerged on Brazilian TV showing the dramatic moment a tailings dam near the community of Brumadinho collapsed.

The collapse is the second incident of its kind to occur at one of Vale SA's mines in the past three years.

According to officials, the collapse of the dam in the hilly, pastoral region has killed at least ninety-nine people, with another two hundred and fifty missing and likely dead.

Brazilian judicial officials on Thursday ordered the freezing of another 800 million reals (about 220 million USA dollars) of mining giant Vale's assets over the collapse of the company's tailings dam in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

A ceremony was held at the site of the disaster in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais around 1pm local time, the hour at which the dam breached on January 25, unleashing a destructive torrent of reddish-brown mining waste.

Vale said Friday it is expanding financial aid to those affected by the dam collapse.

"I'm not saying we might have other dam ruptures in Minas Gerais".

The toll from last week's dam collapse in Brazil rose to 115 on Friday, Reuters reported. Vale described the document as a routine disaster preparation plan required by regulators.

The sledge caused by the dam collapse tracked straight for Vale's cafeteria, where numerous workers were eating lunch.

Neto said liquefaction caused the 2015 collapse of the Samarco dam, which is co-owned by Vale and led to the deaths of 19 people.

Environmental groups accused the previous Congress and president of rolling back significant protections, and many expect further weakening under President Jair Bolsonaro, who has said environmental regulation hamstrings several industries, including mining.

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