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Cracks found in Vale's B-5 tailings dam in Brazil

Brazil's Minas Gerais state prosecutors asked Vale SA to hire an independent auditor after cracks were found in the iron ore mining company's B-5 tailings dam, Reuters reported Dec.14, citing television program Jornal da Band.

The B-5 tailings dam is at the Mutuca iron ore mine, near the town of Brumadinho where Vale's collapsed tailings dam of the Feijao iron ore mine was located.

The report noted that in October, Vale met with the prosecutors but declined to commit to an independent audit, saying that the cracks "have not been presenting any changes and do not compromise the structure."

Vale also said that the cracks are superficial and poses no risk to the dam's integrity, and had been self-reported to the country's mining regulator.

In an email to Reuters, Vale said the dam's "security level is appropriate as attested to by the most recent regular inspection, carried out by an independent company in August 2019, which confirmed the stability of the structure."

Jornal da Band said 93 people live in an immediate danger zone downstream of the dam. The dam contains about 11 million cubic meters of tailings waste, similar to the amount of waste released at Brumadinho.