The death toll from a dam accident in Brazil has hit 110 people, authorities said on Thursday.
As rescue efforts continue in Brumadinho, hopes are fading for the more than 230 people still unaccounted for after a tailings dam belonging to Vale, the world’s largest iron ore producer, burst on January 26. The incident has become one of Latin America’s worst ever mining disasters.
Most of the victims are personnel linked to the company, which is now facing fines, class action lawsuits, and credit rating downgrades. Over the weekend, Brazilian courts blocked almost $3bn of Vale’s assets to pay for the damage caused by the spill, and on Thursday a labour judge froze an additional $439m as compensation for victims. Authorities have arrested employees and contractors of Vale.
Investors have offloaded their positions, wiping out billions in Vale’s market value
This is the second such incident in less than four years. In November 2015, 19 people were killed when dams holding waste material at the Samarco iron ore mine — owned by Vale and Anglo-Australian miner BHP — collapsed, submerging the town of Mariana and spewing millions of tonnes of mud into a river system.