Vale closes mines after prosecutors order evacuation of dam area

4th June 2021 By: Reuters

Brazilian miner Vale has interrupted production at its Timbopeba mine and part of its Alegria mine after prosecutors ordered the evacuation of an area around the nearby Xingu dam, the company said in a securities filing.

The closures, in the state of Minas Gerais where Vale has been involved in two dam burst disasters, will reduce its output by 40 000 iron-ore tonnes a day, it said.

In 2015 a dam operated by Samarco, a joint venture between Vale and BHP Group in the town of Mariana, burst, followed in 2019 by another in the town of Brumadinho which killed almost 300 people.

Vale said there is no "imminent risk" of the Xingu dam bursting.

The company stopped traffic on the Fabrica Nova railroad, which usually transports iron ore produced at Usina Timbopeba. Timbopeba was closed temporarily, reducing production by 33 000 iron-ore tonnes a day, the company said.

"The company is working to resume operations, focusing on the safety of employees and surrounding communities", Vale said, without elaborating further.