Thursday November 5, 2015 a dam burst above the town of the Bento Rodregues in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. A veritable river of mud and mine tailings flowed through the town displacing the 600 inhabitants. The iron ore mine where the dam was holding back the mine tailings is owned by BHP Billiton Ltd. and Vale SA.
Video showed many if not all homes destroyed by the mudslide. A car was lifted onto the top of a building which had its roof destroyed. The destruction was throughout the valley.
In a joint statement on the Samarco Mineração Facebook page, Peter Poppinga, executive director of Ferrous Vale, and Jimmy Wilson, Iron Ore president of BHP Billiton, said that our “priority right now is to understand the extent of the consequences of breaking the dams and how we can provide additional support.”
At least two are confirmed and up to 16 have been reported dead due to the dam failure. The cause of the dam breach currently unknown.