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Brazilian regulator says Vale dam near Brumadinho is structurally sound

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the company logo of Brazilian mining company Vale SA at its headquarters in downtown Rio de Janeiro August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares/File Photo

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A dam owned by iron ore company Vale SA VALE3.SA that was the subject of an investigative report by a TV program last week is structurally sound and there is no reason for concern, Brazil's national mining regulator said late on Tuesday.

On Friday, the program “Jornal da Band” said it had obtained documents saying that Vale’s B-5 dam in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais had cracks, and that state prosecutors had asked the firm to hire independent auditors to look into the matter.

The dam is located near the town of Brumadinho, where a Vale tailings dam burst in January, killing hundreds. The mining-dependent region has since been on high alert for any possible deficiencies in the area’s hundreds of dams.

In the Tuesday statement, the national mining regulator, known as ANM, said it had visited the dam, and while there were some minor superficial irregularities due to animals and a makeshift “motocross” course, it was structurally sound.

The B-5 dam “does not have any relevant structural anomalies that merit concerns,” the regulator said.

On Friday, Vale said the cracks were superficial and not indicative of a potential dam failure. It said it had self-reported the cracks to regulators.

Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Bill Berkrot