Daily Management Review

Vale hiding information about problems at Brazilian dams could result in death of 270 people


Vale SA hid information from the Brazilian authorities about problems on the dam, which collapsed in January, resulting in the deaths of 270 people.

Vale had been ignoring warning signs at the dam for several months before the tragedy, and did not notify the authorities, the Brazilian National Mining Agency (ANM) said.

“If the regulator was properly informed, it could take precautionary measures and demand urgent action from the company that could prevent the catastrophe,” ANM emphasized.

Brazilian mining laws are relatively strict, but regulators lack funds to control the vast industry. Because of this, regulators rely heavily on companies that need to report problems.

Seven months before the dam broke, mud poured from the base of the structure during the installation of the drainage pipe. This incident, which The Wall Street Journal reported in February, is seen by authorities as a major indicator of the presence of serious problems on the dam.

One of Vale’s geologists told the police after the tragedy that he had serious concerns about the leak, which required 60 sandbags to fix. ANM said Vale did not report the leak.

By the time of the tragedy of January 25, the regulator had only eight inspectors engaged solely in tracking 425 dams across the country.

source: reuters.com