Brazil orders Vale to suspend activities at two mine complexes

22 February 2019 (Last Updated February 22nd, 2019 12:06)

Brazil’s mining regulator has ordered iron ore miner Vale to suspend activities at its Fabrica and Vargem Grande complexes, as part of a crackdown following a fatal dam break last month.

Brazil orders Vale to suspend activities at two mine complexes
The village of Bento Rodrigues after a tailings dam burst at Samarco’s Germano mining site. Credit: Senado Federal.

Brazil’s mining regulator has ordered iron ore miner Vale to suspend activities at its Fabrica and Vargem Grande complexes, as part of a crackdown following a fatal dam break last month.

The collapse of a dam at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão iron mine in Brazil last month killed least 141 people and unleashed a mudslide on the local town of Brumadinho.

Around 430 people were working in the mine in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, at the time when the incident occurred.

In November 2015, a tailings dam burst at Samarco’s Germano mining site near the town of Mariana in Minas Gerais, claiming the lives of at least 17 people and injuring more than 50.

Vale said that the regional office of the National Mining Agency (ANM) ordered for the suspension of activities at the complexes with immediate effect.

The move comes to avoid potential problems triggering failures by liquefaction in the fork I, fork II, fork III, group and Vargem Grande dams.

The company said in a statement: “In the case of mechanical dismantling by tractor and for summarising its concentration and pelletising plants, [this] will lead to limited impacts on production volumes, whose values will be reported as soon as estimated.”

“This will lead to limited impacts on production volumes, whose values will be reported as soon as estimated.”

Vale did not specify what the impact of the crackdown would be on production.

In a separate announcement, Vale signed the preliminary adjustment agreement that will anticipate the emergency payments to every person registered as resident in the city of Brumadinho on the date of the breach of the Dam I in the Córrego do Feijão mine.

The agreement was signed with the Attorney’s Office of the State of Minas Gerais, the Public Prosecution Office of the State of Minas Gerais, the Public Defender’s Office of the State of Minas Gerais, the Federal Attorney’s Office, the Federal Public Prosecution Office, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, and representatives of those affected by the breach.