BRUMADINHO, Brazil – Vale is reporting that there has been a breach to the Feijão Mine in Brumadinho (MG), which occurred on Friday afternoon. The first information from the company indicates that the tailings have reached the companies administrative area and part of the Vila Ferteco community. There is still no official confirmation of any injuries according to the company.
Vale Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman said only one-third of the roughly 300 workers at the site had been accounted for. He said a torrent of sludge tore through the mine’s offices, including a cafeteria during lunchtime according to Reuters.
Vale provided 40 ambulances and a helicopter to support the rescue, as well as a refrigerated truck with drinking water for the community. About the accident, the rupture of Dam 1 of the Feijão Mine, in Brumadinho (MG), occurred in the early afternoon. The administrative area was affected by the tailings and there were direct employees and third-parties outsourced by Vale. Rescue and care of the wounded are being carried out on site by the Fire Department and Civil Defense. There is still no confirmation as to the cause of the accident.
We confirm a partial collapse of a dam in #Brumadinho occurred today. The Fire Department is on site and Vale has initiated the Emergency Plan for Dams. Our highest priority is to preserve and protect the life of the community. pic.twitter.com/PedUkZAlfT
— Vale Global (@valeglobal) January 25, 2019
Mining.com is reporting, “A tailings dam at a Brazilian iron ore operation owned by local mining giant Vale (NYSE:VALER) burst Friday, releasing a river of sludge that covered nearby buildings and forced the evacuation of hundreds of locals. By late afternoon, Reuters reported that seven bodies were recovered and that the death toll is expected to rise sharply.”
Vale is a private-sector, publicly traded company, headquartered in Brazil and present in around 30 countries around the world.
— srb news (@srbnews0) January 26, 2019
On the company website, Vale reports the company has contacted the Fire Department and activated its Emergency Dam Response Plan.
“Vale’s overall priority at this time is to preserve and protect the lives of employees and members of the community.”
Vale announces that it has made two more Help Centers available to serve those affected by the breach of Dam 1, in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais and now totals three centers: Brumadinho Knowledge Station and Córrego do Feijão Community Center. Employees of the company are acting as volunteers to provide service, emotional support and identification.
The company has also provided telephone channels to support and assist the local population. The numbers to call are: 0800 285 7000 (Hello Railroad – priority) and 0800 821 5000 (Vale Ombudsman). The actions are by the Humanitarian Aid Committee, formed by a team of social workers and psychologists who provide care to those affected.
Vale deeply regrets the accident and is making every effort to provide relief and support to those affected. The top priority of the company right now is to support the rescue efforts, to help preserve and protect the lives of all employees and members of local communities. The dam was in the process of decommissioning and was not receiving additional waste.
The company will continue to provide information as soon as confirmation is received.