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Brazilian miner Vale reports iron ore dam burst at Feijao mine in Minas Gerais

  • Author
  • Diana Kinch
  • Editor
  • Keiron Greenhalgh
  • Commodity
  • Metals

Houston — Brazilian miner Vale, the world's largest iron ore producer, said an iron ore tailings dam burst at its Feijao mine in Minas Gerais state on Friday afternoon.

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The first information available following the breach is that tailings have reached the company's administrative area and part of the Vila Ferteco community, Vale said in a statement.

Analysis: Vale's iron ore mine dam burst comes after end-year rebound in iron ore prices

At the time the statement was issued, there was still no confirmation of whether there were any injuries, the company said.

Vale said it has contacted the local fire department and activated its emergency dam response plan.

Company communications obtained by S&P Global Platts from a source close to Vale, however, indicated the dam burst had been serious, with the possibility of fatalities.

In November 2015, production of iron ore and pellets was halted at Samarco, a joint venture pelletizer owned by Vale and BHP, after a dam burst and created one of Brazil's worst environmental disasters with a mud slide that claimed 19 lives.

Legislation has since been introduced on tailings dam construction in Brazil.

Samarco, with a pelletizing capacity of about 30 million mt/year, has yet to receive the final go-ahead to resume production.

Vale said Friday its overall priority at the moment is to preserve and protect the lives of employees and members of the community.

-- Diana Kinch, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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