French people

Rains overflow from dike in French mine in Brazil, highway cut

BRASILIA, Jan.8 (Reuters) – Heavy rains on Saturday overflowed a dike at a Brazilian iron ore mine owned by French steel tube maker Vallourec, cutting off a major federal highway, local fire departments said.

No one was injured and there was no risk of flooding the communities near the Pau Branco mine near Nova Lima in the mineral-rich state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil, fire service spokesman Pedro Aihara told reporters.

“It was a dike for the containment of rainwater,” he said, dismissing press reports that a tailings dam may have burst. “There was no structural problem.”

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The BR-40 highway, a major transport axis that connects Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, has been blocked in both directions.

Vallourec confirmed that a dike had overflowed. “This is not a dam collapse,” the company said in a statement.

Heavy rains have fallen in the region and other parts of Brazil in recent days. In the northeastern state of Bahia, at least 20 people have died in severe flooding. Read more

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Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Marta Nogueira in Brasilia Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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