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Heavy rains raise risk of dam collapse in Minas Gerais state

Heavy rains raise risk dam collapse
Overflowing of a tailings dam in Greater Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais. Photo: Social media

Intense rainfall led to the overflowing of a tailings dam in Greater Belo Horizonte, in the state of Minas Gerais. In the same state, rains caused a rock the size of a ten-story building to come loose from a cliff, hitting tourism boats nearby and killing ten people.

On Sunday, Pará de Minas — in Greater Belo Horizonte — issued a “maximum alert” due to the risk of a dam collapse in the municipality. It asks its residents, as well as those in six neighboring cities, to leave their homes immediately, citing fears of a tragedy similar to the 2019 Brumadinho dam collapse — which killed 262 people and left eight missing. 

The heavy rains have forced miners Vale, Usiminas, and CSN to halt operations in the region. 

UPDATE: Meanwhile, the highest court in Minas Gerais ordered the Civil Defense to inspect a dam in the central region of the state. The Casa de Pedra dam is owned by CSN, and the National Mining Agency recently identified “small rain-related erosion” in the saddle dam. Authorities fear a collapse may happen, although the company has dismissed the risks.

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