On Wednesday, February 6, the state secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development (SEMAD) canceled the Provisional Operational Authorization of Vale’s Laranjeiras dam and Jangada mine in Brazil as a consequence of the public civil action filed by the Public Prosecution Office of the state of Minas Gerais. Vale said the Jangada mine has not been operating since it halted the Córrego de Feijão mine following a tailings dam collapse on January 25 that killed at least 150 people and left more than 180 still missing when part of its contents reached the company’s administrative area and part of the Vila Ferteco community.

Vale said it stopped the disposal of tailings in several dams, one being the Laranjeiras dam, which is used by the Brucutu mine.

According to the company, the Laranjeiras dam was built using the conventional method and has numerous reports of its stability. “Therefore, Vale reinforces its understanding that there is no technical and/or legal basis, nor risk assessment to justify the cancelling of the Provisional Operational Authorization,” it said.

The cancellation has an estimated impact of approximately 30 million tons of iron ore per year, according to Vale.

As a result of the temporary suspension of the Brucutu mine production, Vale has also declared force majeure on a number of related iron ore and pellets sales contracts.

Vale said there is no technical basis nor risk assessment to justify the court decision to suspend the operation and is adopting the appropriate legal measures to resume its operations as soon as possible.