Tragically, it’s happened again. Another tailings dam has failed at an iron mining operation in Brazil. This time it’s Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine near Brumadinho. The death toll is staggering (See News, p. 4). Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the iron ore miners in Minas Gerais and all the people who suffered a loss.
From an engineering standpoint, this is totally unacceptable. The environmental impact this time is not as severe as the Samarco collapse near Mariana in 2015, when satellites tracked an orange plume through Brazil’s countryside until it eventually fouled the Atlantic Ocean, but it’s a major environmental calamity nonetheless.