27 March 2016

Remarkable new footage of the mudflow from the Samarco tailings dam failure in Brazil

Posted by Dave Petley

Remarkable new footage of the Samarco tailings dam failure in Brazil

An amazing new video has appeared on Youtube showing the mudflow that was released by the Samarco tailings dam failure in Brazil on 15th November 2015.  I covered this event at the time, and investigations continue into the cause and blame.  This video is accompanied by some text in Portuguese.  Google Translate, with some edits by me, renders this as follows:

In an unprecedented video posted by one of the witnesses of the tragedy on a social network can be seen the strength of brown mudflow that came down from the mountains, reaching and destroying communities and all that was ahead. The desperation is of the three people who were close to Bento Rodrigues, Mariana district of Minas Gerais Central Region, which was devastated by mud tailings  from the Fundão dam, on November 5, 2015



Although quite distant, the extraordinary pace and power of the mudflow is clearly apparent:

Samarco tailings dam failure

A still from the new Youtube video of the Samarco tailings dam failure


This is a video that all people responsible for designing and managing tailings dams should view.

Meanwhile, the enormous cost of this event is becoming more apparent.  BHP Biliton, co-owner of Samarco, has produced a website that outlines the work that they are undertaking in the aftermath of the disaster.   The Telegraph reports that the mine will reopen towards the end of the calendar year, with the tailings being stored in two pits whilst the dam is rebuilt.   O Globo reports (in Portuguese) that the tailings are damaging the ecosystem at the mouth of the Rio Doce, down which the mudflow travelled,  Meanwhile, sales of fish in Colatina are reported to have fallen as people are worried that they might have come from the polluted waters of the Rio Doce.