A dam holding back mining waste from Brazilian miner Vale is at risk of collapsing, a government audit says.
The same company was responsible for two tailings dam collapses since 2015 that unleashed millions of gallons of toxic sludge and killed hundreds of people in Brazil’s southeastern state of Minas Gerais.
The retired Xingu dam at Vale’s Alegria iron ore mine in Mariana — the same municipality where a Vale tailings dam collapsed in November 2015 in what’s considered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster to date — is at “serious and imminent risk of rupture by liquefaction,” according to an audit report from the Minas Gerais state labor department (SRT), cited by government news agency Agência Brasil.
The SRT did not immediately reply to Mongabay’s emailed requests for comment; it also did not answer any phone calls. In the May 20 audit report, only released last week, the SRT said the Xingu dam “does not present stability conditions.”
“It is, therefore, an extremely serious situation that puts at risk workers who perform activities, access or remain on the crest, on the downstream slopes, in the flood area and in the area on the tailings upstream of the dam,” the document says.
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