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Burst Brazilian dam will not be rebuilt, company says
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Dec 26, 2015

A waste water dam that burst at a Brazilian mine last month, killing 17 people, will not be rebuilt, the company that operates the facility said Saturday.

In addition to those who died, two people were declared missing after the November 5 disaster at the Samarco iron ore mine near Mariana in southeastern Brazil.

Samarco, which runs the facility, is a joint venture of mining giants Vale of Brazil and Australia's BHP Billiton.

"We don't intend to rebuild at this location given everything that has happened," Samarco president Ricardo Vescovi told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Reflecting on the causes of the tragedy, he said it would take "at least six months or even a year" to determine exactly what happened.

He however insisted the sludge released when the dam collapsed, burying the village of Bento Rodrigues, was not toxic.

The contaminated water and mud ran down a major river into the Atlantic Ocean, killing thousands of animals and devastating large swathes of protected tropical rainforest. At one point, 280,000 people were without drinking water.

Vescovi also said the breached Fundao dam and the nearby Germano dam were being raised when the accident occurred.

Brazil's government is suing Vale and BHP Billiton for $5.2 billion in clean-up costs and damages stemming from the incident, which environment minister Izabella Teixeira has called the worst environmental disaster in the country's history.

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