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Risk of dam burst at Vale's Gongo Soco mine lower than expected

Vale SA said May 28 that the unstable embankment at the Gongo Soco iron ore mine in Brazil had a lower risk of disintegrating than previously thought, based on the miner's latest analysis of the site.

The Gongo Soco mine is located about 64 kilometers from the Feijao iron ore mine, also in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, where a tailings dam collapsed and killed hundreds of people in January.

According to COO Marcelo Barros, there is a great probability that the slope will remain inside the extraction site, with no major consequences to occur at the nearby Sul Superior tailings dam. Environment secretary Germano Vieira of Brazil's Minas Gerais state previously said the tailings dam had up to a 15% chance of collapsing.

In February, Vale was ordered to evacuate about 500 people near the tailings dam at the Gongo Soco mine. According to mining regulator ANM, the dam, which has been inactive since 2016, holds 6 million cubic meters of mine waste.

Earlier this month, rail freight and passenger train operations at a nearby rail line were suspended as a precautionary measure.