How Brazil’s mining tragedy could shake up Australia’s iron ore market – by Kylie Purcell (Your Money – February 1, 2019)

Your Money

Australia’s mining sector saw enormous financial gains this week – but it follows a tragedy that raises serious questions about the operations being run by some of the world’s most powerful mining corporations.

Shares in Australia’s iron ore sector surged Wednesday after news that Vale, the world’s biggest iron ore producer, would close some operations following a dam collapse in Brumadinho that left more than 100 dead and hundreds more missing.

Should the death toll increase, the catastrophe could mark Brazil’s deadliest ever mining accident and the country’s second iron ore mining disaster in recent years.

In 2015, the collapse of the Bento Rodrigues dam in Brazil – jointly run by Australia’s BHP Billiton – was labeled the country’s worst-ever environmental disaster and one of the biggest legal claims ever filed in a British court.

The latest incident has once more lead to increased public scrutiny over the operating methods used by Vale and other miners – often in some of the world’s poorest countries.

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