January 30, 2019 / 11:58 AM / 6 months ago

U.N. rights experts seek inquiry into toxic waste from Brazil dam

A cow is rescued after a tailings dam of Brazilian miner Vale SA collapsed in Brumadinho, Brazil January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Washington Alves

GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations human rights experts called on Wednesday for an impartial investigation into the deadly collapse of a dam in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and into toxicity of the waste from the iron ore mine owned by Vale.

In a statement, the U.N. expert on disposal of hazardous substances Baskut Tuncat urged the government to prioritize safety evaluations of dams and not authorize any new tailing dams until safety is ensured.

Vale SA, the world’s largest iron ore miner, has vowed to sacrifice production for safety to avoid another instance of the tailings dam failures that have tarred its legacy, including the dam that burst in the town of Brumadinho last Friday, leaving hundreds missing and presumed dead.

(This story corrects the spelling of the surname to Tuncak, not Tuncat, in the second paragraph)

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Tom Miles

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