Vale dam collapses in southeastern Brazil, up to 200 missing

Vale dam collapses in southeastern Brazil, up to 200 missing

Vale dam collapses in southeastern Brazil, up to 200 missing

President Jair Bolsonaro sent a tweet saying he lamented the incident and was sending three cabinet ministers to the area. It's considered the worst environmental disaster in Brazilian history.

Schvartsman, who had his two-year term renewed last month by Vale's board, said it was an "inactive dam" that was in the process of being decommissioned that burst apart "very violently, very suddenly".

The dam is operated by the same company that oversaw another dam in the same state of Minas Gerais that suffered catastrophic failure in 2015.

The state judiciary also froze more than $260 million from Vale, with a presiding judge citing the company's responsibility for the disaster.

"The environmental impact should be much less, but the human tragedy is frightful", he told journalists at Vale's offices in Rio de Janeiro.

All of those missing are Vale employees or contractors, a police spokesman said.

"We will do everything in our reach to help the victims, minimize damage, investigate the facts, claim justice and prevent new tragedies like the ones in Mariana and Brumadinho for the well-being of Brazilians and the environment", he said, referring to a similar mining disaster in 2015.

"We need a special machine to access the structure and recover victims", Aihara said.

The president plans to tour the area later.

The rivers of mining waste are raising fears of widespread contamination. The far-right leader campaigned on promises to jump-start Brazil's economy, in part by deregulating mining and other industries.

The complex produced 26 million tonnes of iron ore in 2017, or about 7 percent of Vale's output, with Corrego do Feijao accounting for 7.8 million tonnes, according to the company's website. However, a United Nations report found that the waste from the 2015 disaster "contained high levels of toxic heavy metals".

Just before midnight Saturday, firefighters put out a list of 187 people who had been rescued throughout the afternoon.

Environmental groups and activists said the latest spill underscored a lack of regulation.

The companies reached a multibillion-dollar settlement past year with Brazilian authorities over the collapse. "It's unacceptable that government and mining companies haven't learned anything". US -listed shares of Vale closed 8 percent lower on Friday.

His regional administration said 427 people had been working at the Vale mine at the time of the dam collapse, and 279 were recovered alive.

The disaster was the first big emergency faced by Bolsonaro and his government since he took office in early January, and perhaps one of the biggest disasters in Brazil's history.

The search is being carried out by 100 firefighters with 100 more expected to join them on Saturday.

Related news

[an error occurred while processing the directive]