BRASILIA/SAO PAULO – Brazil’s mining regulator on Tuesday blasted iron ore miner Vale SA for failing to reveal issues with a mining dam earlier than a lethal collapse in January, saying this saved the company from taking actions that would have saved lives.

The dam in Brumadinho collapsed and flooded a close-by firm cafeteria and the encompassing countryside with mining waste, killing greater than 250 individuals. It was Vale’s second lethal dam collapse in lower than 4 years.

The regulator’s report on its probe into the catastrophe is the newest blow to the status of Vale, which is beneath legal investigation over accusations that high executives ignored warning indicators concerning the dam.

Based mostly on the report’s findings, ANM will now assess the iron ore miner with 24 new fines. Officers mentioned that the quantity of every tremendous is capped at round 6,000 reais ($1,500) beneath Brazilian regulation.

The report detailed a number of issues that it mentioned Vale ought to have reported.

The primary occurred in June 2018, seven months earlier than the catastrophe, when the corporate put in horizontal drainage pipes and found sediment within the drainage water. This worrying signal ought to have been reported instantly, ANM officers informed reporters in a briefing.

Members of a rescue team search for victims after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil, Jan. 28, 2019.
Members of a rescue staff seek for victims after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining firm Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil, Jan. 28, 2019.

“The serious fact is that when there is sediment it must be reported. Period. It wasn’t. If it had been communicated, the area would immediately have been submitted to daily inspections,” mentioned ANM head Victor Bicca. “But we didn’t know what was happening.”

Vale mentioned in a press release it will analyze the report nevertheless it was unable to touch upon technical choices taken by its “geotechnical team” on the time.

The miner mentioned it’s offering all data on the historical past of the dam’s situation to authorities, including that numerous investigations have been pending into the reason for the dam burst.

A number of ANM administrators mentioned if Vale had correctly reported drainage, water strain and different points on the dam, it will have been categorised as “emergency level 1,” bringing a better degree of scrutiny together with day by day inspections.

They mentioned these inspections may have uncovered additional issues, in the end resulting in evacuation, which might have saved lives.

As a result of issues weren’t disclosed, the dam was not given excessive precedence, because it was not actively receiving extra mining waste, director Tasso Mendonca mentioned. He mentioned the dam was “a bit forgotten.”

“It’s a kind of negligence, perhaps not intentional,” he mentioned.

($1 = 3.9915 reais)


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