Late on the afternoon of 5 November 2015, the Fundão iron ore tailings dam collapsed. An estimated 60 billion litres of tailings flowed down the Santarém Valley, located in the south-eastern region of Brazil. The ‘mudslide’ destroyed Bento Rodrigues, a small town located below the dam wall. It also washed away nearby roads and bridges, and flowed into the Doce River. The waste plume flowed downstream for some 600 km, draining into the Atlantic Ocean. The plume then traversed the coastline of Espirito Santo, a neighbouring state, before gradually dispersing (Australian Broadcasting Commission 2015). Nineteen people died in the incident; while many others seriously were injured. This was a calamity, not only for those directly affected by the dam collapse, but also for the Brazilian economy.
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