Update: 165 people confirmed dead after Brazil dam breach

Article by Amanda Jasi

165 people have now been confirmed dead following the collapse of a Vale mine tailings dam in Brazil on 25 January. 158 of the dead have been identified. Another 158 people remain missing following the incident which occurred in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Vale’s legal representative Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is to retain an external expert panel, made up of four experts, that will investigate the technical causes of the dam breach.

Vale has proposed compensation for the families of the dead. This compensation is separate from previously-reported donations for the families of dead and missing people.

Registration for donations to people affected in the “self-saving zone” are to begin today. Donations will be cumulative for those that fit into more than one of the following categories: residence, productive rural activity, or commercial establishment.

Vale is covering all of the expenses incurred from the recruitment of 142 professionals that are to join Brumadinho’s health and social services team for an initial period of six months. It will also pay all associated logistical costs incurred by the teams. Those hired will gradually replace Vale’s own health team in assisting those affected by the dam breach.

Vale has made a judicial deposit of R$7.4bn  (US$2) in accordance with orders to block the company’s funds, which was previously reported.

Vale has begun construction of a 50 m bridge to help restore traffic in Brumadinho. The aim is to allow communities access to the central Brumadinho area. 

Vale says that it “will remain committed to settling amicably all fallouts resulting from the dam breach”.

After consulting company Walm denied the stability condition report of Vale’s Sul Superior dam, Vale initiated level 1 procedures of the Emergency Action Plan for Mining Dams (PAEBM), as a preventative measure. As part of PAEBM procedures, about 500 people  were evacuated from local communities. Sul Superior is one of Vale’s ten remaining, inactive upstream dams and is part of the accelerated decommissioning plan.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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