Iron ore and base metals miner Vale’s defunct dam on Brazil’s Xingu river may be on the verge of collapse, according to local authorities.
Minas Gerais’ Regional Labor Department of Southeastern Brazil, noted to the media on Thursday that a potential collapse is imminent due to liquefaction, where solid materials are weakened by water.
Vale had already stopped disposing of mining waste at the dam, but the company had employed workers to monitor and maintain the area. The company had also halted operations at its Timbopeba and Algiers facilities in the Mariana complex near the dam, following a notice to evacuate earlier in June this year.
Xingu tailings or mining waste had caused a rupture in the dam in 2015, with 19 casualties. Brazil’s National Mining Agency had also elevated danger levels once more in October last year. Vale’s mining activity in the area is still suspended, pending further audits by local authorities.