Deadly dam burst prompts investors to review mining stocks – by Jennifer Thompson and Chris Flood (Financial Times – February 10, 2019)

The collapse of a dam at an iron-ore mine in Brazil just over two weeks ago has prompted investors to review holdings in the business’s owner and triggered questions over how to manage risks and improve practices.

The burst at the Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinhoon January 25 is one of South America’s worst disasters: at least 150 people died and nearly 200 are still missing.

The dam was operated by Vale, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, and it held back tailings — streams of waste from mines. There are several thousand similar dams worldwide.

Mining activities are frequently controversial and the sector poses a challenge for investors who are under pressure to understand and manage environmental, social and governance risks.

As well as worker safety, areas of concern include the possible use of child labour, the effect on ecosystems and whether the land has been acquired legally.

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