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Brazilian a city evacuated as Arcelor Mittal dam at risk

Staff Writer |
Inhabitants of the Brazilian city of Itatiaiuçu in the state of Minas Gerais have been evacuated as an Arcelor Mittal dam is at risk.

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ArcelorMittal announced that after very careful consideration it has taken the decision to put in practice the evacuation plan related to its dormant Serra Azul tailing dam, in Brazil.

Having informed and discussed the situation with the local authorities, it was agreed that the 200 person community situated downstream to the dam should be evacuated as a precautionary measure.

The action follows an updated site-based assessment commissioned by ArcelorMittal Mining of the tailings dam by the Independent Tailings Review Panel following the recent incidents in the Brazilian mining sector.

The assessment included stress tests on the Serra Azul pond applying early observations available from the Feijao dam.

Based on the range of factor of safety evaluation, a decision was taken to evacuate all residents while further testing is undertaken and any mitigation measures can be implemented.

The historic failure-flow-path when the dam was active was approximately four to five kilometres.

This is a purely precautionary measure and the community is situated 5km from the dam. The company concluded that absolutely no risk can be taken and, despite the obvious disruption to the community, this is the right decision.

The community have been moved into temporary accommodation. They will remain there while further tests are ongoing and until the security of the tailings pond can be 100% guaranteed.

The Serra Azul mine is located in Itatiaiuçu, Minas Gerais State, in Brazil. It produces 1.2 million tonnes of concentrate and lump ore.

The tailings dam, which is an upstream dam, has been idled since October 2012. It is the only such “upstream” dam in the company’s mining portfolio.

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