Vale to relocate 50 people near dams, expanding ‘safety zone’

Vale has installed 46 monitoring points along the Paraopeba river. Credit: Vale SA

Brazilian miner Vale SA said on Wednesday it will relocate about 50 people near a series of tailings dams in the state of Minas Gerais to reflect concern that a wider area could be hit by a potential dam burst.

Vale said in a securities filing that the move to expand the “safety zone” around the Forquilha dams in the case of a dam collapse had been taken based on more conservative studies and an “extreme” hypothesis.

The expansion of the zone for the dams that are part of its Paraopeba complex complies with an agreement reached with Minas Gerais prosecutors, after the Brumadinho dam burst last year, killing more than 270 people.

There were no new anomalies or changes in the technical data for the dams, which are under constant monitoring, Vale said.

Two of the Forquilha dams, near the historic town of Ouro Preto, a UNESCO world heritage site, are classified as being in imminent danger of bursting, while two others are at reduced alert levels.

Forquilha I, II and III are part of a list of nine upstream tailings dams that Vale set aside $1.9 billion to decommission as part of its response to the Brumadinho disaster.

(By Christian Plumb and Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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