Fundão Dam Failure

On November 5, 2015, the Fundão dam failure occurred, and part of its tailings reached the Santarém dam – where water was stored – causing partial erosion on the right side of its dam.

antes e depois entenda o rompimento da barragem ingles

Due to the Fundão dam failure, a volume of 32.6 million cubic meters of tailings from the mining activity (LINK 2) – a partial volume of the total of 56 million cubic meters that were stored – were released from the Company area. The material reached a river close to the operations of Samarco (Gualaxo do Norte), traveled along its bed, flowed into the Doce River and reached the sea on November 22, 2015. The course of the turbidity plume until it reached the mouth of the Doce River, in the encounter with the Atlantic Ocean, impacted several municipalities in the States of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, along 650 kilometers.


mapa entenda o rompimento da barragem de fundao


As a result of the failure, 13 employees and service providers working in the vicinity of the Fundão dam and five people from nearby communities died. One person is still missing.

Of the approximately 32.6 million square meters that left the area owned by the Company, some 80% of tailings were settled until the dam of the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant (Candonga), located between the Minas Gerais cities of Rio Doce and Santa Cruz do Escalvado, 113 kilometers from the Germano unit. Another 5.5 million cubic meters followed the flow of the waterways along 537 km to the mouth of the Doce River, in the town of Regência (ES).

In the region that concentrated the largest amount of tailings, the material impacted the communities of Bento Rodrigues and Paracatu de Baixo, in Mariana (MG), and a part of the district of Gesteira, in Barra Longa. Nearly 300 rural producers in the region were affected and part of the city of Barra Longa was flooded, leaving families and merchants temporarily unable to access their properties. Approximately 2,200 hectares of area were impacted, of which 500 hectares in the river channels and the remaining along its banks.

The impact of the dam failure between the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant and the municipality of Regência (ES) was concentrated on the rivers. Municipalities such as Governador Valadares (MG) and Colatina (ES) stayed for a few days with their public water distribution suspended in the month of November.

From the outset, Samarco has been conducting various remediation and mitigation actions along the 650 km of extension for the social, environmental and economic impacts. On August 2nd, the Renova Foundation, created by Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton, started operations to conduct rehabilitation programs and socioeconomic and socio-environmental recovery in the impacted areas.


The proposal of this document book, produced in clear and objective language, is to report to different audiences everything that has been done by Samarco to remediate the damage caused, since the moment the Fundão dam failure occurred on November 5, 2015. The material brings the results of this first year of work, with technical and historical data. Access the book below and learn more:

You can also download the book by clicking here.