Brazil miner Vale cuts output as disaster death toll rises

At least 200 missing after severe flooding at Brazilian mine

Israeli rescue delegation departs for Brazil after dam collapse leaves hundreds missing

Brazilian authorities arrested five people in connection with a dam collapse that killed at least 65 people and left almost 300 missing as it plastered part of a small city with reddish-brown mud and iron ore mining waste.

Reuters witnesses saw homes knocked over, roadways washed out and a rail bridge demolished by the wave of mud.

TUEV Sued said Monday that it had conducted a periodic review of dams for Brazilian mining company Vale SA in July 2018 and a regular inspection of dam safety in September past year.

"I want to express my solidarity and say that all of Vale will do whatever possible and impossible to help the affected people".

Minas Gerais is still recovering from the 2015 collapse of a larger dam that killed 19 people in Brazil's worst environmental disaster. Romeu Zema, the governor of Minas Gerais state, said that by now most recovery efforts would entail pulling out bodies.

The slow pace of search efforts is due to the treacherous sea of reddish-brown mud that surged out when the mine dam breached Friday afternoon.

Both dams at the mining complex belong to Vale, Brazil's largest mining firm.

Chief Executive Fabio Schvartsman said it would temporarily paralyze operations using those dams and spend 5 billion reais ($1.3 billion) to decommission them over the next three years.

Josiele Rosa Silva Tomas, president of Brumadinho residents association, said: "I've never seen anything like it".

A member of rescue team reacts, upon returning from the mission, after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil January 27, 2019.

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While the cause of the accident has not yet been determined, the Brazilian environmental agency, Ibama, has already slapped Vale with a 250 million reais ($92 million USD) fine for causing pollution, destroying the habitability of the environment, and other "other regulatory violations", the Observer noted.

In the meantime, some 290 rescue worker continued the search in Brumadinho, an area located near Belo Horizonte, about 390 miles southeast from the country's capital of Brasilia, and have located more bodies, but the death toll will not be updated until the end of Tuesday, G1 said. These are people I grew up with.

Sueli de Oliveira Costa, who hadn't heard from her husband since Friday, had harsh words for the mining company.

In ordering the arrests, Minas Gerais state judge Perla Saliba Brito wrote that the disaster could have been avoided.

A washed out bridge downstream from the disaster carried a branch of the rail network run by MRS Logistica SA, infrastructure minister Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas said on Twitter, adding that the main line of the Ferrovia do Aço was not damaged.

In a statement following the arrests, Vale said: "With regards to the warrants served this morning, Vale informs that it is fully co-operating with the authorities".

Iron ore from the mine entered the seaborne market, and accounted for about 0.5 per cent of the traded iron ore market, he said.

The world's biggest producer of iron ore and nickel said the three-year plan would cut its iron ore output by 10%. However, a spokeswoman couldn't immediately confirm that those being sought worked for the company.

A worker outside the cafeteria who narrowly escaped the fast-moving mud flow told Reuters he doubted anyone inside had made it out alive.

Environmental groups and activists said the latest spill underscored the lack of environmental regulation in Brazil, and many promised to fight any further deregulation.

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