Vale workers fear for safety after Brazil’s Samarco disaster

MARTA NOGUEIRA, Reuters, 11/20/2015 

Workers at Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA fear for their safety after the Samarco dam burst in the town of Mariana, where the company was reducing the number of employees because of weak ore prices, despite its push for output and complaints about safety.

A tailings dam at Samarco, a joint iron ore venture of mining majors BHP Billiton and Vale SA, unleashed 40 million cubic meters of mud on the valley below on Nov. 5, killing 11 people with 12 still missing.

For Ronilton Condessa, secretary of the Metabase labor union in Mariana, where Samarco is the main employer, in Minas Gerais state’s iron belt, the dam’s collapse is evidence of the risks the company is taking with its people.

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