Companies’ Report on Brazil Dam Failure Adds Little New on Causes – Paul Kiernan (Wall Street Journal – August 30, 2016)

RIO DE JANEIRO—Nearly 10 months after one of the biggest disasters in the history of mining, the companies responsible for the failure of a massive tailings dam in Brazil presented a long-awaited report Monday on the causes of the incident.

But it added little information to what Brazilian police and prosecutors already had gathered, and it presented no guidance on how to prevent future accidents.

The Fundão dam failure at mining giants Vale SA’s and BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Samarco joint-venture in Brazil is believed to have been the largest such accident.

Its Nov. 5 collapse released enough mine waste to fill the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium at least 11 times. The waste destroyed villages and killed 19 people as it rushed down one of southeast Brazil’s main river systems, polluting more than 400 miles of waterways along the way.

“My commitment is to learn every lesson we can from what happened here,” BHP Billiton Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said Nov. 16. “We will be entirely open with the findings of this report to hope that regulators and companies around the world benefit from that learning, so that something like this never happens again.”

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