Brazilian court orders Vale to cease operations at 13 tailings dams

27 March 2019 (Last Updated July 26th, 2019 10:28)

Brazil’s Court of Santa Bárbara has ordered operations cease at 13 tailings dams owned by iron ore giant Vale as investigations continue into the company's role in the Brumadinho disaster.

Brazilian court orders Vale to cease operations at 13 tailings dams
A burst dam which killed hundreds has led to murder charges for 16 former Vale executives. Credit: TV NBR

Brazil’s Court of Santa Bárbara has ordered operations cease at 13 tailings dams owned by iron ore giant Vale as investigations continue into the company’s role in the Brumadinho disaster.

Following the court’s injunction, Vale will cease activities at Paracatu Containment Dike; Lavra Azul Containment Dike; Dicão Leste Dam; Mosquito Dam; Cobras Containment Dike; Sul Dam; Sabiá Dam; B3; Estrada de São Gonçalo Dike; Principal Dam; Captação Dam; Pocilga Dam and Athayde Dam.

The injunction has been issued by the court in response to a motion by the Public Prosecution Office of the State of Minas Gerais (MPMG).

Recently, the Brazilian court allowed Vale to restart operations at the mine, a month after officials suspended operations in the wake of the Brumadinho disaster. However, the decision to close the tailings dams will prevent operations from resuming.

Vale said in a statement: “Vale was made aware of the decisions but was not formally notified. The decisions were mainly based on a notification received by the MPMG containing preliminary information on the structures.

“Vale will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its dams and will take the appropriate legal measures concerning the civil actions.”

“Vale will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its dams and will take the appropriate legal measures concerning the civil actions.”

The collapse of a tailings dam at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão iron mine in Brazil in January this year unleashed a mudslide on the local town of Brumadinho and is said to have claimed the lives of more than 300 people.

Following the incident, the company announced plans to close an additional 19 dams, to prevent similar tragedies from taking place at its operations.