Fundão dam collapse
On 05 November 2015, the Fundão dam failed and part of the tailings it contained reached the Santarém dam, used for storing water, thus provoking a partial erosion on the right side of this dam.
Of the 56 million cubic meters of tailings contained in the Fundão dam, some 32 million cubic meters spilled beyond the company´s property limits. The material reached the Gualaxo do Norte river nearby, traveled along its bed, then flowed into the Doce River and reached the sea on 22 November 2015. The turbidity plume impacted many municipalities in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo along its 650 km path to the Atlantic Ocean.
As a result of this dam break, 13 employees and service providers who were working in the area of the Fundão dam, as well as five people from the impacted communities, lost their lives. One person is still missing.
Of the approximately 32 million cubic meters of tailings which were released from Samarco’s facility, about 26.5 million cubic meters were deposited along the way, as far as the Candonga dam of the Risoleta Neves hydropower plant, located between the cities of Rio Doce and Santa Cruz do Escalvado, 113 km downstream of the Germano unit. Another 5.5 million cubic meters followed the course of the waterways on the 537 km leading to the mouth of the Doce River, in Regencia, Espírito Santo.
The communities most severely impacted by the tailings were Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu de Baixo, in Mariana, Minas Gerais, and a part of the district of Gesteira, in Barra Longa. Almost 300 local rural producers had their livelihood impaired and part of the city of Barra Longa was flooded, temporarily preventing the residents and tradespeople from accessing their properties. Some 2220 hectares were impacted, of which 550 hectares of river channels and the rest lands along their banks.
The greatest impact of the dam break, between the Risoleta Neves HPP and the municipality of Regencia on the coast, was on the water courses. Municipalities such as Governador Valadares (MG) and Colatina (ES) had their public water supply interrupted for several days during the month of November 2015.
Samarco immediately launched a series of social, environmental and economic remediation and mitigation actions along the entire length of 650 km. On 2 August 2016, a Foundation, named Fundação Renova, was formed jointly by Samarco and its shareholders, VALE and BHP Billiton, to carry on with these socioenvironmental and socioeconomic actions in the impacted areas.
Overview of the actions
Samarco has prepared a dossier so that society can keep up with the measures that are being taken by the company since the Fundão dam collapse. Access the document below to see the overview of these actions:
You can also download the PDF file. Click here.