About 200 People Reported Missing After Mining Dam Collapses in Brazil

About 200 People Reported Missing After Mining Dam Collapses in Brazil

The alarm, warning of dangerously-high water levels at a dam that is part of the Córrego do Feijão mining complex in south-east Brazil went off at 5:30 am, a statement by the mining company Vale said.

The dam burst at Vale's Corrego do Feijao mine in southeastern Brazil unleashed a torrent of mud on Friday, burying the mining facilities and nearby homes in the town of Brumadinho.

They had called for people to be evacuated to higher ground as water levels at a second dam, still standing near the iron ore mine close to the town, rose to unsafe levels and triggered sirens.

Friday's breach caused mining debris to spill into the mine's administrative area, where employees were working, according to Vale.

"I saw all the mud coming down the hill, snapping the trees as it descended". That collapse killed at least 17 people and is described as the worst environmental disaster in Brazil's history.

She said: "I'm angry.my hope is that they be honest". "Find the highest point in the city".

The mayor of Brumadinho, where the dam is located, said seven bodies had been recovered and that he expects the death toll to rise, according to Reuters.

Rescuers on helicopters pulled muck-covered survivors and lifeless bodies from a rust-red deluge Saturday after the collapse of a mining dam, leaving up to 300 people missing and prompting an outcry for stricter safety codes in the mining industry.

The rivers of mining waste also raised fears of widespread environmental contamination and degradation.

Brazil's new government led by President Jair Bolsonaro reacted to its first big emergency since taking office early this month by launching disaster coordination between the defense, mining and environment ministries and authorities in the affected state of Minas Gerais.

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Vale is Brazil's largest mining company.

But by the afternoon, civil engineers said the second dam was no longer at risk.

The mine waste, called tailings, is generally just made up of sand and is non-toxic. Vale's CEO, Fábio Schvartsman, said roughly 300 workers were on site at the time of the rupture and that at least two-thirds of them are unaccounted for. However, a United Nations report found that the waste from the 2015 disaster "contained high levels of toxic heavy metals".

However, reports say US$1.3 billion has frozen from Vale's accounts to help fund the recovery work and handle damages. An estimated 60 million cubic metres of waste flooded nearby rivers and eventually flowed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Minas Gerais state authorities said they were about to levy another penalty.

"Three years after the serious environmental crime in Mariana, with investigations still ongoing and no-one punished, history repeats itself as tragedy in Brumadinho", she said in a Twitter post.

Former environmental minister and presidential candidate Marina Silva said Brazilian authorities and private miners had not learned anything from the 2015 disaster and called it unacceptable.

The department said it understands the possibility of finding people alive decreases as the hours pass, and it will continue the search until all victims are found.

"We will do what we can to help victims, minimize damage, uncover the facts, demand justice and prevent new tragedies", Bolsonaro tweeted.

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