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At Minas mines, severe rain has brought dam failure fears

The state of Minas Gerais has suffered two catastrophic dam failures over the last seven years, which caused hundreds of deaths. Recent severe rains have left the region on alert once more

Officials say the Carioca dam has a 99-percent chance of collapsing due to intense rainfall. Photo: Eduardo Anizelli/Folhapress)
Officials say the Carioca dam has a 99-percent chance of collapsing due to intense rainfall. Photo: Eduardo Anizelli/Folhapress)

The severe rains which battered the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais over the New Year period left 24 people dead, 45,000 displaced, and 6,600 homeless, putting 377 municipalities under a state of emergency. And, it recalled the ghost of tragedies past, particularly with relation to the numerous tailings dams dotted around the state, owned by mining companies.

Indeed, the rains hit a part of Minas Gerais which is home to the three dams with the highest risk of collapse in all of Brazil. Over the last seven years, dam failures in Mariana and Brumadinho led to...

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