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11 Nov 2015

Martin Farrer and agencies, The Guardian (UK)

Brazil: Criticisms of how dams were allowed to collapse are made by govt, environmentalists & residents, who also complained about lack of information from Samarco

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“Brazil dam burst: BHP boss to inspect disaster zone with dozens still missing-Shares in the mining multinational continued to fall amid calls for more regulation in the wake of the collapse of two dams at its co-owned iron ore mine”, 9 November 2015

The boss of BHP Billiton...[arrived]...in Brazil on...[9 November] to see...the devastation wrought by the collapse of a dam at an iron ore mine co-owned by the company that has left at least two dead and dozens missing. Three days after the rupturing of two dams unleashed a massive flood of mud on nearby villages, authorities were still struggling to determine the cause of the disaster or even recover the bodies of as many as 28 people lost in the torrent. Amid mounting criticism by officials, environmentalists and residents of how the dams were allowed to collapse, BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie was due to meet with mine bosses and local authorities...The Anglo-Australian company, which co-owns mine operator Samarco in a joint venture with...Vale, said...“BHP Billiton has offered its full support to help the immediate rescue efforts and to assist with the investigation.”...The mud tide has continued to spread, causing flooding in other nearby towns, contaminating the Rio Dolce river and threatening the water supply of several cities...Government leaders and residents...criticised what they say has been lax communication by Samarco.Vale…has referred...queries about the incident to Samarco. Local people whose homes were destroyed or damaged by sludge stained with mineral waste were especially critical of Samarco for the uncertainty they now face...[A]s many as 580 people are taking shelter in hotels or with family and friends. Samarco is paying for accommodations and relocation, but those affected complain that the company has given few answers about how long the displacements might last or how they might eventually repair or replace damaged homes...