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article imageTwo dams burst in Brazil leaving 30 injured and dozens missing

By Karen Graham     Nov 6, 2015 in Environment
Mariana - The number of casualties are expected to rise from two collapsed waste-water dams on Thursday at a Brazilian iron ore mining operation in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais as rescue operations continue today.
A spokesman for firefighters at the scene confirmed to Reuters that at least 30 people have been injured, and there are at least two deaths, but that figure is sure to rise as the search continues.
"In reality there are a lot more, but we can't confirm any more than that. We don't even know that we'll find everybody," said firefighter Adão Severino Junior in the nearby city of Mariana.
The dam breaches occurred on Thursday afternoon, devastating the nearby town of Bento Rodrigues with mud and water that had probably been rendered toxic by the mining operations, according to the BBC. Mudslides have blocked roads and knocked down cell towers, making rescue operations all the more difficult.
At least 17 people were killed and dozens injured after a dam burst at a mining waste site in Brazil...
At least 17 people were killed and dozens injured after a dam burst at a mining waste site in Brazil's southeastern Minas Gerais state
Douglas Magno, AFP
The BBC's Julia Dias Carneiro in Rio de Janeiro says the affected area of the waste-water dams breach is home to about 600 people. Because of the difficulty of getting to some residents, helicopters are being used because of the fear of additional mudslides.
The Guardian is reporting that authorities say the dam was built to hold back water and residue from the mining operation, and it is often toxic. They went on to say the waste-water contains tailings, a mix of metal filings, water and chemicals. The dams are close by the Gualaxo do Norte river, adding fears that the river has now been polluted with the toxic waste.
The Brazilian village of Bento Rodrigues is 80 percent buried after a dam burst
The Brazilian village of Bento Rodrigues is 80 percent buried after a dam burst
Douglas Magno, AFP
The Germano iron ore company in the state of Minas Gerai is owned by Samarco, a joint-venture between Vale and BHP Billiton, the world's top iron ore miners. Samarco has four pellet plants in Anquieta, in Brazil's Espírito Santo state, and three concentrators in its Germano plant.
The head of emergency planning at Samarco told reporters there were reports of seismic activity in the area in the hours leading up to the breach, but the company's press representatives could not confirm the report. Even while rescue operations are ongoing, Samarco is already worrying about the cost to the company of a lengthy work stoppage at the Germano plant.
More about dam break in brazil, dozens missing, samarco mining company, possibly toxic, 2 dead 16 injured
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