Ninety-nine people have now been confirmed killed with a further 259 people missing following the collapse last Friday of Dam I of the Córrego do Feijão mine in the city of Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, mining firm Vale has confirmed.
In a statement, the firm – which operates the tailings dam – gave an update on the incident and confirmed measures being undertaken by the company to help alleviate the situation at the site. It said that of the 99 confirmed fatalities, 67 had so far been identified, with 393 people found and 192 rescued.
Measures undertaken so far include:
• Financial support to the affected families: Vale is offering a donation of R$100,000 to each of the families with missing members or affected by fatalities. The donations will be made based on the official list validated by the Civil Defense Corps available on Vale's website. The assistance started on Thursday, January 31st, 2019.
• Psychological support: A Humanitarian Aid Committee was created, made up of social workers and psychologists, to provide assistance to the affected people and their families. A team of specialists in trauma, grief and catastrophe recovery at the Albert Einstein hospital join 100 health professionals who are on site.
• Containment measures: Dikes will be built in the Brumadinho mine area with the aim of containing sediments from the tailings. A barrier for sediment retention near the water catchment of the city of Pará de Minas and the construction of a sediment containment barrier in the Paraopeba river will be installed.
• Financial compensation to the municipality: Vale will financially compensate the municipality of Brumadinho for the loss of income related to the Financial Compensation for the Mineral Exploration (CFEM).
• Emergency resources: Vale is providing all necessary resources (food, water, medicines, clothing, transportation, etc) at the site.
• Animal rescue: Approximately there are 50 professionals working to rescue the local fauna. Until this date, 26 pets have been rescued. The task force is composed of veterinarians, biologists and auxiliaries. Treatment centers, a field hospital and a portable unit were set up to accommodate, treat and care for small and large animals.
• Pest control: To prevent pests and protect the population, on Thursday, January 31st, the application of medicines on the streets and fields in Brumadinho begins. The measure aims to prevent the spread of diseases. The product applied is biodegradable and does not pose harm to humans and livestock.
Vale also announced this week it will decommission all its dams built by the upstream method. In 2015, Vale had 19 upstream dams in operation and, by its own decision, made them inactive, initiating the decommissioning process. There are still 10 upstream dams, all inactive. The structures will undergo a de-characterization process and will cease to exist. The operations in which these dams are located will be temporarily halted. Works should take up to three years with R$5 billion of investment.
In other announcement, Vale said it has appointed a Chairperson for the Extraordinary Independent Consulting Committee for Investigation. Following a selection process led by the international consulting company Korn Ferry, Vale's Board of Directors confirmed, on January 30th, the appointment of the former Minister of the Federal Supreme Court, Dr. Ellen Gracie, as Chairperson of its Extraordinary Independent Consulting Committee for Investigation (CIAEA). The CIAEA was established to support the Board of Directors in determining the causes and potential responsibilities in the context of the breach of Dam I.
Vale also appointed Claudio Alves as the leader of the Immediate Response Group, a committee created on January 25th to consolidate emergency actions, of any nature, related to those affected by the dam breach.