Eight Arrested Over Brazil Dam Disaster

 Eight Arrested Over Brazil Dam Disaster

Eight Vale employees who were responsible for the security and stability of the Brumadinho dam have been arrested today.

Brazilian police have arrested the eight employees of mining company Vale SA who have been accused by state prosecutors of covering up weaknesses at a dam that collapsed and likely killed more than 300 people.

The arrests and a further 14 search warrants targeted employees of Vale as well as employees of German auditing firm TÜV SÜD, which had certified the dam as stable.

The tailings dam burst on 25 January which killed at least 166 people with a further 200 more still missing.

In an arrest warrant written by a judge in Minas Gerais it said:

The eight Vale employees … had full knowledge of the situation of instability in the dam and each one of them, as part of their job, also had the power and ability to adopt measures for either stabilizing the structure or evacuating areas at risk. 

Vale has said that they are and will fully cooperate with the investigation.

The latest warrants followed the arrest last month of five Vale and TÜV SÜD employees, who were released by a higher court ruling on 5 February.

The most senior Vale employees arrested on Friday were Joaquim Toledo, Vale executive director of geotechnical operations, who led the team given the task of monitoring the dam’s stability, and Alexandre Campanha, Vale executive corporate director of geotechnicals.

Along with the arrests of Joaquim Toledo and Alexandre Campanha, Hélio Márcio Lopes da Cerqueira, who was allegedly involved in email correspondence about faulty monitoring equipment at the mine was also arrested.

Chief executive officer Fabio Schvartsman said on Thursday, in response to questions from lawmakers, that the company’s safety procedures had not worked.

Tailings are the mud-like byproducts, including finely groundrock particles, left over from mining and extracting mineral resources.

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