Dam ruptures at Brumadinho mine in Brazil, killing at least seven

The dam collapsed near the city of Belo Horizonte

The dam collapsed near the city of Belo Horizonte

Seven bodies had been recovered by nightfall, said Avimar de Melo Barcelos, the mayor of the town of Brumadinho where the dam burst in the mining-heavy state of Minas Gerais.

Rescue workers sifted through a sea of mud to search for about 300 missing people yesterday after a dam at an iron ore mine in Brazil collapsed, burying a workers' canteen and nearby homes.

Around 200 people were missing, the firefighters said in a statement released from the city of Belo Horizonte, adding that scores were trapped by the river of sludge.

Vale shares plummeted on the NY stock exchange Friday, closing eight percent lower. A number of people were rescued by helicopter. However, accessing the bus buried in yards (meters) of mud was proving hard.

Nineteen people were killed when the village of Bento Rodrigues, also in Minas Gerais, was destroyed when a dam owned by Samarco, a joint venture by Vale and another Brazilian company, collapsed in November 2015.

A general view of the aftermath from a failed iron ore tailings dam in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil January 25, 2019 in this image obtained from social media.

Eight people have been taken to hospital so far, officials said.

Almost 300 people were missing, many feared dead, on Saturday after a dam collapsed at a mine in southeastern Brazil, according to officials and the mine owner, corporate giant Vale.

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"The environmental impact should be much less, but the human tragedy is awful", he told journalists at Vale's offices in Rio de Janeiro.

Aihara said the torrent of mud stopped just short of the local Paraopeba river, a tributary of the Brazil's longest river, the Sao Francisco.

The Inhotim Institute, an outdoor contemporary art museum in a park three miles from Brumadinho, evacuated visitors and closed its doors out of safety precautions.

Vale SA, a Brazilian multinational corporation, is one of the largest logistics operators in Brazil and also the largest producer of iron ore and nickel in the world.

A state judge ordered Vale to freeze 1 billion reais ($265 million) in its accounts, to be held against damages caused by the dam rupture.

President Jair Bolsonaro intends to visit the disaster zone on Saturday, according to a spokesman.

"We will do everything in our reach to help the victims, minimize damage, investigate the facts, claim justice and prevent new tragedies like the ones in Mariana and Brumadinho for the well-being of Brazilians and the environment", he said, referring to a similar mining disaster in 2015. It was described as the worst environmental disaster in the country's history, causing widespread contamination of waterways. S&P may downgrade Vale by as much as several notches depending on the impact of the accident, according to the note.

Schvartsman declined to comment on how output would be affected.

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