Another Brazil dam at risk, 200 evacuated

Sao Paulo: Around 200 residents have been evacuated from an area near a tailings dam in Brazil operated by Vale amid fears that it is structurally weak and could burst like a similar barrier failure last month that killed 300 people.

Vale said in a statement that it had evacuated people living near the inactive B3/B4 dam of the Mar Azul mine about 25 kilometres south of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state, after revising security data on the structure.

A rescue worker surveys damage after a Vale SA dam burst in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, last month.Credit:Bloomberg

Those forced to flee late on Saturday were taken to a community centre and would then be put in hotels, the company said.

The evacuation comes little more than a week after two communities located close to nearby dams were forced to leave their homes on similar fears of dam failures.

The collapse last month of a Vale dam in the same area unleashed an avalanche of mud that engulfed nearby buildings and farms, killing an estimated 300 people in Brazil's deadliest mining disaster.

As evidence mounted that Vale missed warnings of trouble at the dam in the town of Brumadinho, pressure has risen on the firm and other mining companies to bolster safety measures to avoid a recurrence.

Another dam, also used to store the muddy mining detritus known as tailings and co-owned by Vale and BHP Group, had collapsed in 2015, killing 19 people and wreaking massive environmental damage.


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