Dam Breach Kills Dozens at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão Mine

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Tragedy struck Friday at miner Vale S.A.’s Córrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho (in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais).

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According to Reuters, a dam breach at the mine led to the deaths of at least 60 people, with rescue missions in progress that could see the death toll rise. As of Sunday evening, more than 300 people were still missing, Vale said.

The most recent dam breach comes after a dam collapse at Vale’s Samarco mine in November 2015, which left 19 dead.

In a release Monday, the miner said it was forming a pair of committees to deal with the aftermath of the dam breach.

“The first Independent Committee will be dedicated to follow-up on the measures taken to support the victims and the recovery of the areas affected by the breach of the dam, assuring that all necessary resources will be applied – ‘CIAE for Support and Recovery’,” the company states.

“The second Independent Committee will be dedicated to investigating the causes and responsibilities for the dam breach – ‘CIAE for Investigation.'”

The miner also announced the non-payment of dividends, among other financial actions, as it suspended its Financial Remuneration Policy. Vale also announced the suspension of the variable remuneration payment for executives.

“The Board of Directors remains in readiness and following the developments of the events related to the dam breach and it will take necessary additional measures,” the company said.

Vale shares have plunged over 20% since the Friday tragedy.

In addition to the human toll, the disaster introduces supply uncertainty in the global iron ore market, as iron ore prices surged in the wake of the disaster.

The Córrego de Feijão mine, part of Vale’s Paraopebas Complex, produced 7.8 million tons of iron ore in 2017 and 8.5 million tons in 2018, out of a total of 26.3 million tons and 27.3 million tons for the Paraopebas Complex, respectively.

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Brazil is the world’s second-largest producer of iron ore, behind only Australia. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Brazilian iron ore production in 2017 reached 440 million tons.

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