There is not a final casualty number arising from the failure of two tailings’ dams of the Alegria iron mine. The mine, owned by SAMARCO – a BHP and VALE joint venture, is located in the region of Mariana – Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais, Brazil). Workers at the site are reported dead or missing (some sources refer one confirmed dead, 13 missing). Bento Rodrigues and other localities downstream of the accident were flooded by mud – there still is no information on victims there (images from these sites suggest likely human casualties).
The effort and attention is now directed to help those affected by this accident and to assess its full impact. The material released to the affected hydrographic basin is mostly composed by silica, a inert material according to SAMARCO’s latest report.  Minuto Mais published aerial footage of the affected area in their Facebook page.
There is no explanation for the failure of the dams, SAMARCO’s worst crisis – SAMARCO’s CEO quoted in Valor Econômico, a Brazilian publication. SAMARCO issued two reports; VALE and BHP issued statements (VALE; BHP).
The accident has been widely reported in international specialised – Mining Journal – and economic media – Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.

Published by

Luís Chambel

Exploration & Research Mining Engineer, MSc Engineering Geology, MBA, PhD European Engineer -EUR ING; Euro Geologist - EURO GEOL

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