RIO DE JANEIRO, May 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA told prosecutors in the state of Minas Gerais that a dam is at risk of rupturing at its Gongo Soco mine, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) from where its Brumadiho dam collapsed, leaving more than 230 people dead.
According to a document published on Thursday, prosecutors said Vale is predicting the dam in the city of Barao de Cocais may collapse next week if the current rate of movement in the embankment of the mine pit close to the dam is maintained.
Earlier this week, Vale had identified movement close to the mine, which has not been active since 2016. Local residents were evacuated in February. The dam holds 6 million cubic meters of mining waste, according to mining regulator ANM.
“If the movement of the northern embankment of the mine pit continues at the same pace, the rupture may happen between May 19 and May 25, which could cause liquefaction of the south dam”.
Vale shares were down 3.42% at 46.31 reais in late afternoon trading in Sao Paulo. Shares accelerated their fall after the reports on the potential dam burst. Prosecutors ordered Vale to issue urgent warnings about the risks to the local population. Vale did not immediately comment on the matter.
Authorities in Brumadinho are still recovering bodies from the collapse of a Vale tailings dam there in late January. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by David Gregorio)