Brazil court orders Vale employees, contractors arrested again

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Members of a rescue team search for victims after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo/File Photo

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A Brazilian court in the state of Minas Gerais on Wednesday ordered the arrest of Vale SA employees and contractors who worked for auditor Tuv Sud and were charged in a January dam burst that killed hundreds of people, according to a court statement.

The 11 Vale employees and two Tuv Sud contractors who had assessed the stability of the dam in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, had been released by an appeals court order on Feb. 5.

The disaster in Brumadinho killed more than 300 people and 108 are still unaccounted for. No senior managers were ordered arrested. Vale has temporarily suspended its Chief Executive Officer, Fabio Schvartsman, the head of ferrous metals, Peter Poppinga and executives Lucio Cavalli and Silmar Silva.

In a statement, Vale said the arrests are “unnecessary, since the employees and contractors had already given depositions to authorities”. All the employees ordered arrested were suspended from their jobs, the company added.

Tuv Sud declined to comment.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by David Gregorio and James Dalgleish