Vale deals with another problem related to tailings dams at a time when the Brazilian mining company is focused on improving its reputation and the entire mining industry aims to avoid this type of structural failure.
In December 2019, the company informed the conclusions reached by an external group of experts on the causes of the Brumadinho tragedy in January of that year. “I understand that the Brumadinho incident served as a warning to companies in this industry worldwide,” Pedro Galdi, capital analyst at Mirae Asset Management, told BNamericas.
The expert acknowledges that Brumadinho’s report, which he describes as purely technical, does not change the outlook for the mining giant to a greater extent, as the world’s largest producer of iron ore will continue to compensate victims and incur high repair costs. related to the incident, as seen in the balance sheets of Vale’s last quarters. Vale’s total provisions and expenses linked to the tragedy in Brumadinho, in the state of Minas Gerais, amount to US $ 6bn.
For its part, the Public Ministry of Minas Gerais said that the B5 dam – which Vale has in Nova Lima, in the metropolitan area of the capital Belo Horizonte – has cracks and leaks, according to a report by TV Record. In addition to the risk of affecting 93 people living near the dam in the Macacos district, any incident could severely damage Belo Horizonte’s water supply. The B5 dam is located in the Mutuca mine and the tailings reach 11 million cubic meters, according to the information.
According to Vale, B5 is a downstream dam and has a history of stability. “Its safety factor is adequate according to the latest regular safety inspection report, prepared by an independent company in August 2019, when the structure’s stability was confirmed,” Vale told BNamericas on Monday. The company claims that cracks and upward movements are treated and monitored as recommended by the independent contractor who was responsible for the inspection. “B5 is monitored regularly and both visually and in terms of water pressure demonstrates stability,” the company said. The collapse of the tailings dam of Brumadinho left almost 300 dead.