An aerial view shows a collapsed bridge caused by flooding triggered by a dam collapse near Brumadinho, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. The dam that held back mining waste collapsed, inundating a nearby community in reddish-brown sludge, killing at least seven people and leaving scores of others missing. (Bruno Correia/Nitro via AP)

The Latest: Experts in Brazil criticize wet mine tailings

January 30, 2019 - 10:38 am

BRUMADINHO, Brazil (AP) — The Latest on the deadly collapse of a dam at a Brazil iron ore mining complex (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Environmental experts say mining companies should move away from wet mine tailings, which is the storage of waste in reservoirs.

The process is used by a large number of mining companies across the world, including Vale SA.

The breach of Vale's dam in the Brazilian city of Brumadinho unleashed a torrent of reddish-brown mud containing toxic levels of iron oxide on Friday.

Roberto Galery is a professor of mining engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

He said the storage of waste in water requires strict controls such as observance of water levels, filter efficiency, dam slope movement and seismic activity.

Some companies have turned to dry-stack tailings, which consists of filtering water out and stacking solid waste in piles.

It is a safer, more expensive technology, and Galery said the industry has been reluctant to embrace it.


3:00 p.m.

Independent human rights experts working under a mandate from the U.N. Human Rights Council have called for a prompt and thorough investigation into the collapse of a dam at an iron ore complex in Brazil.

To date, 84 people have been confirmed dead and 276 are still missing.

A statement read: "We urge the Government to act decisively on its commitment to do everything in its power to prevent more such tragedies.

It cited another similar accident in November 2015, when a dam collapsed and killed 19 people in the same state of Minas Gerais.


12:15 p.m.

A Brazilian family is digging through the mud with garden tools and their hands in search of a missing loved one.

The collapse of a dam holding mine waste on Friday led to a sea of reddish-brown mud that plastered several areas of the southeastern city of Brumadinho.

Teresa Ferreira Nascimento said Wednesday they were trying to find her brother, Paulo Giovane Dos Santos. They believe he is buried in his home.

She says: "We are trying to find his body to at least give him a dignified burial."


9 a.m.

A torrent of muddy mining waste unleashed by a dam breach that killed at least 84 people in southeastern Brazil is now heading down a small river with high concentrations of iron oxide.

The waste threatens to contaminate a much larger river that provides drinking water to communities in five of the country's 26 states.

The release of the muddy waste has already turned the normally greenish water of the Parapoeba River brown about 11 miles (18 kilometers) downstream from the southeastern city of Brumadhinho, where the broken dam is.

The chief of an indigenous community said Tuesday that Brazilian environmental agents warned his community to stop fishing in the river, bathing in it and using its water for the plants they cultivate as food.