Brazilian miner Vale plans to invest $400m this year to remove its upstream tailings dams in Brazil, reported Reuters.

By the end of this year, the company plans to decommission 12 of its 30 dam structures as part of the $4bn dam elimination programme that started four years earlier.

By 2035, the programme aims to eliminate the existing tailings dams, which are designed to contain mining waste.

Vale has so far decommissioned four tailing dams in Minas Gerais and three in Para, Brazil. Plans are on to eliminate another five in Minas Gerais by the end of this year.

In February, Vale requested the Minas Gerais state government to provide more time for decommissioning its mining tailings dams.

In accordance with the state law, mining companies are entailed to decommission their tailings dams constructed using the upstream method in Minas Gerais, by 25 February 2022.

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The law was set out a month after the collapse of a tailings dam at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho in 2019.

The disaster released toxic mining waste, claiming 270 lives and also leading to a loss of more than $4bn in Vale’s market capitalisation.

Vale’s 12 dams, which are planned to be eliminated by December 2022, represent a combined tailings volume of 46.9 million cubic metres.

In April 2022, the company was sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allegedly making misleading claims about safety prior to the Brumadinho disaster.

The watchdog is seeking disgorgement and prejudgment interest, injunctive relief, and civil penalties from the mining firm.