Police in Brazil have arrested five people, including two engineers, as part of an investigation into Friday’s dam collapse in Brumadinho.
The two engineers are said to work for subsidiary company and were arrested in Sao Paulo. All five can be detained for 30 days and will be questioned by investigators in Belo Horizonte.
The Brazil iron mine owner Vale said it was co-operating with prosecutors and in a statement following the arrests earlier this week: “With regards to the warrants served this morning, Vale informs that it is fully co-operating with the authorities.
“Vale will continue to support the investigations in order to determine the facts, in addition to the unconditional support to the families.”
Prosecutors in Brazil say three of those arrested were officials from the mining company Vale, whose responsibilities included dealing with environmental impact licences.
On Monday, Vale said it was to raise safety standards after ordering an evacuation of people living downstream of a second tailings dam at its Córrego do Feijão Mine site.
Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman said that Vale has created a working group that in the next few days will present a plan to raise the safety standard of the company’s dams. The objective, according to him, is to overcome the most rigorous parameters that exist today in Brazil and in the world.
“I’m not a mining technician,” he told a press conference. “I followed the technicians’ advice and you see what happened. It didn’t work.”
Rescuers have said there is little hope of finding any of the other 305 people missing after Friday’s collapse, which Vale has said happened without warning.
Over the weekend, Fugro reported that four of its employees were unaccounted for. A fifth employee was rescued and was in a local hospital with minor injuries. Fugro said it was working with local authorities to get more information on the well-being of its colleagues and is providing full support to the families of the missing persons.
No details have yet been released about the cause of the collapse in Minas Gerais State.