Sudbury: MiningWatch Canada pushes for global review of safety of tailings dams (CBC News Sudbury – January 23, 2020)

Third party would review engineering and ground conditions, says MiningWatch spokesperson

State prosecutors in Brazil have charged Fabio Schvartsman, the former chief executive of the mining company Vale, and 15 other people with homicide in connection with a tailings dam disaster last January that killed more than 250 people.

Jamie Kneen is communications and outreach coordinator with MiningWatch Canada. Kneen said his organization is pushing for a global review of the safety of tailing dams.

“We really need an independent third party with a lot of clout and credibility to have the authority to go in and investigate and look at the engineering but also the ground conditions,” he said. Vale and the company responsible for inspecting the dam have also been charged with environmental crimes.

Kneen stated there have been layers of negligence attached to the operation, which he says the company has tried to deflect. Kneen said the dam collapse should have been preventable.

“The liability is there in the sense that those structures are fairly technically designed and executed,” he said. “And in this case, there were signs of instability and it was allowed to continue,” he added.

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