Brazil mining giant Vale will face criminal charges over deadly dam collapse: report

Key Points
  • Brazilian prosecutors say they have evidence to show Vale employees new a dam at the Corrego do Feijao mine was unsafe, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The dam collapse released torrents of sludge into the surrounding area and killed about 300 people.
  • The charges under consideration include murder, manslaughter, environmental damage and false representation.
Residents are seen in an area next to a dam owned by Brazilian miner Vale SA that burst, in Brumadinho, Brazil January 25, 2019.
Washington Alves | Reuters

Brazilian prosecutors intend to file criminal charges against Vale and employees of the mining giant following a deadly dam collapse at a company mine in January, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges connected to the disaster, Jose Adercio Leite Sampaio, the lead prosecutor in the inquiry told the Journal. That evidence shows certain employees working at the mine knew the dam was unsafe, but it remains to be seen whether directors were aware, he said.

The breach in a dam containing mining waste at Vale's Corrego do Feijao mine in southeastern Minas Gerais sent torrents of muddy sludge ripping through the area and killed about 300 people near the city of Brumadinho.

The charges under consideration include murder, manslaughter, environmental damage and false representation, Sampaio told the Journal.

The false representation charges are being leveled at employees of both Vale and German inspections company Tuev Sued, which certified the dam was safe shortly before the collapse.

A report completed by Tuev Sued in September raised concerns about the dam, identifying problems with the drainage infrastructure and faulty monitoring systems, the Journal reported in February.

Prosecutors will investigate whether senior Vale officials understood the risk of collapse in the coming months, Sampaio told the newspaper. 

Shares of Vale were were down slightly following the report.

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