BRASILIA (Reuters) – Neighbors of an iron ore mine belonging to Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE3.SA) were evacuated on Friday in southeastern Minas Gerais state, when a tailings dam ruptured, pouring out mud into the surrounding area, the company and authorities said.
Vale said early indications were that leaked tailings from the Corrego de Feijao mine had spread into its administrative area and to parts of the local community Vila Forteco, near the town of Brumadinho.
The local authorities and Vale said they had no confirmed reports of fatalities in the area.
Photos on G1 and other local news websites, some credited to the fire department, show a vast area covered in sludge with people walking in ankle deep mud.
A representative of the civil defense agency in the nearby town of Brumadinho located 10 kilometers from the dam said they were evacuating homes in the lower district by the river, but the mud had not arrived there.
Reporting by Marta Nogueira in RIO DE JANEIRO, Ricardo Brito, Jake Spring and Anthony Boadle in BRASILIA; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio