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Brazil Has at Least 16 Unsafe Dams, Official Data Says

11/19/2015 - 10h15

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EDUARDO GERAQUE
FROM SÃO PAULO

Brazil has at least 16 unsafe mining dams, according to official data reports from the DNPM (National Department of Mineral Production).

The survey, which was last updated in April of 2014, shows that these dams are in municipalities in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Amazonas and Pará.

The calculation made by the federal agency utilizes data provided by the dam owners themselves. It is a set of information that ends up resulting in a security concept.

The letter A signifies that the state of the dam is critical for the safety requirements considered most important, such as the structure of the construction.

The dam's potential for environmental and social damage is also factored into the technical evaluation.

Despite considering the idea that there is something to gain from this evaluation, which began as part of a national plan created in 2010, specialists interviewed by Folha say that many advances need to be made, especially after the environmental tragedy with the two Mariana dams (in the state of Minas Gerais).

"By utilizing really simple criteria, the analysis ends up underestimating or overestimating the risk", says Marcelo Valerius, an environmental engineer who specializes in tailings dams safety and serves as environmental analyst at the state board for the Environment in the state of Goiás.

The general director of the DNPM Celso Luiz Garcia resigned from the post he held since June 8th of this year.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy reported that the resignation letter was delivered on Tuesday (17) along with a medical report, but could not reveal what was included in the report.

Although there are flaws in the official classification, the specialist defends the thesis that there is a more serious problem, which became evident with the rupture of the Samarco dams.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

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