Brazilian state cancels Vale licenses at two mines in wake of disaster – by Ana Mano and Christian Plumb (Reuters U.S. – February 6, 2019)

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais canceled Vale SA’s license to operate a dam at one of its largest mines, the company said on Wednesday, following the collapse of another dam in the state that killed an estimated 300 people.

Vale has come under intense public pressure since the Jan. 25 dam burst, with some politicians and prosecutors calling for criminal prosecution and a management shakeup, especially since it happened less than four years after another fatal dam burst in Minas Gerais.

Vale shares on Sao Paulo’s Bovespa exchange fell 4.9 percent to a seven-day low of 42.46 on Wednesday, while its U.S. traded ADRS slumped 6.2 percent.

The state canceled Vale’s license for Laranjeiras dam. It had been used in the operation of the Brucutu mine, which had already been suspended by a court order, freezing nearly 9 percent of the company’s output. Vale, which was already trying to appeal the court order, said it would also appeal the license cancellation.

Minas Gerais also canceled Vale’s license to operate its Jangada mine, which has been paralyzed since the dam close to the Córrego do Feijão mine burst in the state, killing at least 150 people. Another 182 people are still missing from what is possibly Brazil’s most deadly mining disaster.

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