RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vale (VALE3.SA) knew as recently as last year that some of the areas hit by last week’s deadly mining disaster were at risk if its tailings dam burst, according to an internal Vale study published by a local newspaper on Friday.
The study seen by newspaper Folha de S.Paulo represents a fresh embarrassment for the world’s largest iron ore miner, which has come under intense pressure over the burst tailings dam at its Corrego do Feijao mine last Friday.
With 110 people confirmed dead and another 238 missing, according to a firefighters’ count on Thursday evening, the tailings dam collapse in the town of Brumadinho could be Brazil’s deadliest mine disaster.
The disaster poses a headache for the new government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose new business-friendly administration must juggle public anger over the tragedy and its own desire to ease mining and environmental regulations to kick-start growth.
The internal study reported by the paper was dated April 18, 2018, and outlined the likely impact of a collapse at the dam. It found that the mine restaurant, where many Vale workers were likely to have died when the dam collapsed, would be hit by toxic mud.