A dam broke on the morning of this Friday (14) in the city of Ouro Fino (MG), about 50 kilometers from Pouso Alegre, in the southeast of Minas Gerais. Although a large volume of water and material dragged into the Mogi Guaçu River, momentarily raising its level and even blocking a bridge, so far there are no reports of injuries or material damage.
According to the state Civil Defense and the Fire Department, the dam is on a private property in the rural area of Ouro Fino. The circumstances of the structure’s rupture are still to be determined.
According to the State Environment Foundation (Feam), 31 dams in Minas Gerais have some level of emergency. Of these, 22 are at level 1 (when there is an abnormality, but there is no need to remove neighboring residents), six at level 2 (when there is a risk of disruption and removal of residents is recommended) and three at level 3 (when there is a risk imminent collapse and residents are forced to leave their homes).
The three emergency level 3 mining tailings dams are located in Nova Lima (dams B3/B4); Ouro Preto (Forquilha III) and Barão de Cocais (South Superior), and belong to the mining company Vale. Also according to Feam, the areas likely to be affected by a possible rupture of these structures have already been evacuated and there are no more people living in the surroundings.
Earlier this week, the state government and the state prosecutor’s office notified the mining companies responsible for the 31 dams in a state of emergency to provide information on the effects of the recent rains that hit Minas Gerais and the measures adopted to monitor the degree of structural safety of the constructions. . On Thursday (13), Feam reported that it received the required data and began analyzing it.
A report will be prepared for each of the containment structures, evaluating the actions that companies are implementing to ensure the safety of the structures and, if necessary, complementary measures will be determined. Documents must be finalized within five days.
“This is a preventive action, in addition to the effort made by the government of Minas Gerais, by the state Public Ministry and also by the National Mining Agency. [ANM], throughout the year, with the routine actions foreseen in the national and state policies for dam safety”, said the state secretary for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Marília Melo, in a note.
Also in a note, the ANM assured that the agency’s mining dam safety team is “on alert” because of heavy rains in Minas Gerais. According to the ANM, the volume of rains that hit the state “caused inconvenience to the population, paralyzed mineral exploration activities and compromised aspects of the state of conservation in some tailings containment structures”.
“ANM has been monitoring the situation of mining dams located in regions with frequent rainfall forecast, defined by the Civil Defense, Cptec [Centro de Previsão de Tempo e Estudos Climáticos] and INPE [Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais] for the week of 1/10 to 1/17/2022,” the agency added.
Reference: CNN Brasil