Documents Show That Vale Knew Brumadinho Dam's Risk Of Collapsing

Internal reports contain projections of how much a collapse would cost and how many people could die; Vale says that dam was well maintained

Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo

An internal document from Vale dated from October 2018 contains projections of how much a dam collapse in Brumadinho would cost, how many people could die and what would be its causes, says the Minas Gerais State Attorney office. The dam collapsed on January 25th, leaving at least 165 dead.

The state is using the report to file a civil class action demanding the company to take immediate action to avoid new disasters like Brumadinho since the document states that nine other dams are also at risk of collapsing.

One of the command rooms at the Vale mine at Brumadinho (MG) that still stands after the dam collapse

Vale challenges the class action and says that the document merely advises on which dams needed maintenance, and those measures were already ongoing. The company also maintains that the Brumadinho dam was in no immediate risk.

The report projects that an eventual dam collapse would cause over 100 deaths -- so far, the authorities have identified 165 casualties, and another 155 people are still disappeared. The number takes into account a collapse happening during daytime and with functioning emergency alarm sirens.

Most victims were in the company's cafeteria and office at the Córrego do Feijão mine, where the collapsed dam was located. Earlier this month, Folha reported that the dam's emergency plan planned these buildings to be flooded in the case of a collapse.

The report also stated that a dam collapse at the Brumadinho mining operations would cost Vale US$ 1.5 billion.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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Lucas Vettorazzo , Nicola Pamplona and Thiago Amâncio