Friday 18 October 2019

Calls for mining disaster firm to face prosecution as anger grows

 

Rescue workers carry the body of a dam disaster victim. Photo: REUTERS/Washington Alves
Rescue workers carry the body of a dam disaster victim. Photo: REUTERS/Washington Alves

Gram Slattery in Brumadinho

Grief over the hundreds of Brazilians feared killed in last week's mining disaster has hardened into anger as victims' families and politicians say miner Vale SA and regulators have learned nothing from past disasters.

Firefighters in the state of Minas Gerais had confirmed 60 people dead in Friday's disaster, in which a dam broke, sending a torrent of sludge into the town of Brumadinho. Nearly 300 are missing, and officials said it was unlikely that any would be found alive.

Brazil's top prosecutor, Raquel Dodge, said the company should be held strongly responsible and criminally prosecuted.

Vale chief executive Fabio Schvartsman said facilities were built to code and tests had shown the dam was stable two weeks earlier.

The disaster occurred less than four years after a dam collapsed at a nearby mine run by Samarco Mineracao SA, a joint venture by Vale and BHP Billiton, killing 19.

Irish Independent

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