February 6, 2019 / 12:34 PM / 5 months ago

Vale says to invest in technology to reduce need for tailings dams

A view of the Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil February 1, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian mining company Vale SA plans to invest about 1.5 billion reais ($409 million) in so-called dry stacking tailing systems to reduce its reliance on tailings dams, it said late Tuesday, after a dam burst last month killing an estimated 300 people.

The Brumadinho dam burst on Jan. 25, killing 142 people and leaving almost 200 still missing, according to the latest report from rescue workers.

Vale said its plan to shift to dry tailings, which would start next year, was aimed at boosting the dry processing portion of its production to 70 percent by 2023, thus reducing the need for dams in its operations.

Investments to service Vale’s existing dams in 2019 will total about $70 million, the company said, representing a 180 percent increase from 2015. That year a Vale joint venture was responsible for another deadly dam spill that killed 19 people and polluted a major river.

($1 = 3.6695 reais)

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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