RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman and several other senior executives resigned on Saturday in what the company described as a temporary move, after one of its mining dams burst in January, killing hundreds.
Vale said Schvartsman offered his resignation, which the board “immediately accepted” after state and federal prosecutors recommended their removal late on Friday.
The move comes slightly over a month after a tailings dam broke at Vale’s Corrego do Feijao mine in the interior Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, likely killing over 300 people and releasing massive amounts of toxic sludge.
It was the second deadly burst at a Vale-linked tailings dam in Minas Gerais in four years. The resignations came after documents emerged in recent weeks showing that Vale knew it had an elevated risk of rupture and that inspectors felt they were under pressure to certify the structure as safe.
Earlier this week, newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that a Vale manager had told executives the integrity of the structure had worsened, though the company vigorously denied the report.