Brazil dam collapse death toll rises to 121

Israeli military personnel search for victims on Wednesday

The Minerals Council said its board, which held a meeting on Wednesday, conveyed its sympathy and condolences to the people of Brazil, in particular those whose lives have been affected by the tailings dam disaster at Brumadinho.

Newly-released video footage shows the harrowing moment a mining dam collapsed, unleashing a powerful wave of waste that swept over everything in its path in Brazil.

Lt. Pedro Aihara of the Minas Gerais state Fire Department said Saturday that some bodies may never be found under the tons of mud that swept through a rural area of Brumadinho.

According to officials, the collapse of the dam in the hilly, pastoral region has killed at least ninety-nine people, with another two hundred and fifty missing and likely dead.

An internal study showed the miner knew as recently as previous year that some of the areas swamped with toxic mud were at risk if the dam burst, according to a report by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. The Corrego do Feijao mine in Minas Gerais was operated by Vale, a Brazilian company. Vale SA is the world's largest producer of iron ore, the raw ingredient for making steel.

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The danger is widespread - a 2017 report from the National Water Agency classified more than 700 dams nationwide as a high risk of collapse and with high potential for causing damage.

In 2015, mining dams burst in nearby Mariana in what is considered Brazil's worst environmental disaster.

Waste residue spread by the dam's collapse containing potentially toxic levels of iron oxide has plastered 252 hectares of the Brumadinho and the Paraopeba River.

Vale, the company that ran and operated the dam, said the residues did not have unsafe levels of metals, but experts argue that the impact on the environment could be irreversible.

The dam rupture on January 25 came as many workers at the complex were having lunch in the cafeteria, which was buried within seconds. The group relies on the river for fish and water.

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