Vale reports 33 of 104 dam structures fail stability assessments
The Xingu Dam in Mariana was raised to Risk Level 2, with Level 3 on the scale indicating an imminent risk of collapse.
Xingu, which serves the Alegria iron mine, was also reclassified from a drainage structure to an upstream dam, the same type of construction used in the Mariana and Brumadinho dams that collapsed.
Local populations were evacuated around nine of the structures, including the Xingu dam.
Vale said it is taking steps to improve dam stability and is building containment walls around five of its dams – B3 / B4, Forquilhas I, II e III and Grupo – which are in the most critical condition. It completed a containment structure for its Sul Superior dam in March.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors said Vale repeatedly failed to deliver on commitments made to improve security after the Brumadinho disaster last year.
Minas Gerais firefighters announced that a body was found on Wednesday, 2 kilometers from the Brumadinho dam, but has yet to be identified. The teams resumed on August 27 the search for the still missing bodies of 11 victims of the disaster.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday sanctioned a bill that changes the rules for controlling dams and provides for up to 1 billion reais ($ 176 million) in fines for companies that fail to meet safety standards.
The proposal, approved by Congress, also bans the construction of reservoirs using the upstream raising method, the same used in Brumadinho, in which the dam is developed in stages, using the mining waste itself, which is considered by experts to be a less secure method. option.
The government has set February 25, 2022 as the deadline for mining companies to remove dams built in this model.
(With files from Reuters)