Samarco, BHP and Vale's joint venture iron ore company in Brazil early this morning announced nine known fatalities following the collapse of its tailings dam, Fundão, on 5 November 2015.

Four people previously unaccounted for have been found while 19 people remain unaccounted for.

Local authorities have advised that through the emergency response, 637 people have been evacuated and temporary accommodation has been provided. Samarco and authorities are providing water and food aid to affected communities.

BHP Billiton and Vale, whose CEOs are on site, have pledged to support Samarco in establishing an emergency fund for community support and rebuilding works.

At this stage, the tailings extend 440 km downstream and 11 communities have been affected.

Samarco has put in place a water monitoring programme for the on-going analysis of the water quality of the Gualaxo do Norte, Carmo and Doce Rivers. Samarco is working with relevant authorities to manage river water quality and ensure availability of potable water.

Samarco employees have also been put on paid leave and options are being considered by Samarco for managing the workforce longer term.

Samarco is continuing to monitor the impacted tailings facilities, including the Germano dam. In conjunction with independent experts, Samarco is developing a plan to reinforce the dam structures and stabilise the area.

All operations were immediately stopped following the incident and Samarco’s operating licence has been suspended. It will remain suspended as authorities commence investigations and rectification work plans are developed.

Samarco and representatives of BHP Billiton and Vale are meeting with lead insurers in Brazil this week.

Top Stories:

Exxaro Grootegeluk mine commissions industry-first coal slimes facility

Anglo American: Brazil iron ore CEO resigns, other management changes

Mineral resources minister urges mines to tighten up safety