This week, Brazilian mining giant Vale reported that its Gongo Soco tailings mine in Minas Gerais continues to erode—a process that began last year and has put the structure at risk of collapse.
In February last year, the National Mining Agency (ANM) ordered the removal of 500 people from the municipality of Barão de Cocais due to risks associated with the dam. The mining complex of Gongo Soco is about 120 kilometers away from the town of Brumadinho, where another of Vale’s tailings dams burst on January 25, killing 270 people.
The case of Gongo Soco is a testament to how the safety of Brazil’s mining sector remains subpar, according to Julio Delgado, a member of Congress who chaired a parliamentary hearings committee into the Brumadinho disaster. In July 2019, the committee requested that former Vale president Fabio Schvartsman be indicted for murder, along with 13 other people.
Disclaimer: this interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
In the wake of these tragedies, have mining companies become more aware of safety measures?