BRUMADINHO, Brazil (Reuters) – Brazil’s government weighed pushing for a management overhaul at iron ore miner Vale SA on Monday as grief over the hundreds feared killed by a dam burst turned into anger, with prosecutors, politicians and victims’ families calling for punishment.
By Monday night, firefighters in the state of Minas Gerais had confirmed that 65 people were killed by Friday’s disaster, when a burst tailings dam sent a torrent of sludge into the miner’s offices and the town of Brumadinho.
There were still 279 people unaccounted for, and officials said it was unlikely that any would be found alive. Brazil’s acting president, Hamilton Mourao, told reporters a government task force on the disaster response is looking at whether it could or should change Vale’s top management.
Public-sector pension funds hold several seats on the board of the mining company, and the government holds a “golden share” giving it power over strategic decisions.
“The question of Vale’s management is being studied by the crisis group,” said Mourao, who is serving as acting president for some 48 hours while President Jair Bolsonaro recovers from surgery. “I’m not sure if the group could make that recommendation.”