The Latest: Brazil workers group protests over dam collapse

The latest on the deadly collapse of a dam at a Brazil iron ore mining complex (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

A Brazilian workers group has staged a protest against Vale SA, the big company that owns and operates an iron ore mine where a dam collapsed near the city of Brumadinho last week, causing at least 99 deaths.

The Landless Workers’ Movement is one of the globe’s biggest agrarian reform movements. Nearly 100 demonstrators protesting over the disaster gathered in the Sao Joaquim das Bicas community near the freight train tracks used to transport minerals extracted from the area in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

Protesters dispersed before Brazilian police arrived.

Suelly Rodriguez is a member of the group who lives in a settlement of 2,500 people along the Paraopeba River, which was deluged with a flood of mud when the dam collapsed. She says that “everybody (here) depends on the Paraopeba River and it’s gone. We’re going to bring justice to our buried people.”


5:25 p.m.

The CEO of Brazilian mining giant Vale SA says he doesn’t think any Vale executive will be arrested in the wake of last week’s deadly collapse of a dam holding waste water at one of the company’s iron ore mines in Minas Gerais state.

Fabio Schvartsman said Thursday that “I have no reason to fear for the arrest of any Vale executive.”

Brazilian authorities arrested five people Tuesday in connection with the dam failure, which resulted in 99 confirmed deaths so far. Authorities are still searching for 257 listed as missing.

Three of those arrested worked for Vale. A German company that inspected the dam said two of its employees were also arrested. The Munich-based TUEV Sued company did not specify whether the two staff members were from its German headquarters or its Brazilian branch.


1:15 p.m.

A spokesman for the Minas Gerais Fire Department in Brazil says that the Israeli search-and-rescue delegation sent to the state of Minas Gerais to help them look for survivors around a mining dam that collapsed is leaving this afternoon.

The 130-member Israeli delegation was expected to stay for a week, but is leaving today after only three days in the field.

Brazilian authorities said the delegation, which helped find 35 corpses during their mission, had to be back to Israel by tomorrow.

Authorities are still looking for 259 missing people. The Minas Gerais Fire Department said Wednesday that it was too early to say when the search for victims would be called off.

No one has been found alive in the thick reddish-brown mine tailing since Saturday.

The team was dispatched after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to help his ally Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.


11:30 a.m.

Authorities in Brazil say that water from the Paraopeba River around the mining dam that collapsed on Friday presents a risk to humans and animals.

Three state and federal agencies asked Wednesday that residents refrain from using water directly from the river or 100-meters (109 yards) around it.

The request was based on initial results from tests on the water.

The agencies also said that firefighters who have been in contact with the wet mine tailing should take safety precautions.

Dam owner and operator Vale SA is obligated to supply drinking water to affected communities.

The torrent of muddy mining waste unleashed by the dam breach killed at least 99 people, with 259 still missing.

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