Manitoba: Rupture of Thompson’s tailing dams could kill nearly 100 people, Vale reveals – by Ian Froese (CBC News Manitoba – June 17, 2019)

Active mine dam in Thompson, Man., records a ‘very high’ hazard rating

A mining giant reeling from a deadly dam collapse in Brazil says it is investigating one of its dams in Thompson, Man., over fears a rupture could kill as many as 100 people.

Vale revealed one of the six active mine dams in the northern Manitoba city recorded a “very high” hazard rating, as determined by the Canadian Dam Association, which means a collapse could result in up to 100 deaths, significant loss of environmental and cultural values and “very high economic losses” affecting important infrastructure.

The mining company disclosed the safety of its dam operations worldwide, after facing pressure from the Church of England Pensions Board and a group of Swedish investors in the wake of a January dam failure at Brumadinho, Brazil, that killed 270 people.

Vale employees and contract safety inspectors knew of dangerous conditions at the Brazilian dam for months, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

‘People on the ground’ ignored: MP

“Based on internal and external investigations, known zones in the dam foundation are under further analysis and we are undertaking additional assessment and precautions while the investigation is ongoing with the oversight of the TRB [Tailings Review Board],” Vale said in its report.

The company’s records state the Thompson tailing dams have, at some point, failed to be confirmed as stable, or experienced notable stability concerns, as cited by an independent engineer.

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