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Design flaws behind Samarco disaster

The Samarco dam disaster in Brazil that killed 19 people in November last year was partially caused by a fateful decision to re-model the structure in 2012, opting for a design ultimately not strong enough to prevent tonnes of waste breaching a wall that wreaked havoc for 400 miles beyond the iron ore mine jointly operated by BHP Billiton and Vale.

Design flaws behind Samarco disaster Design flaws behind Samarco disaster Design flaws behind Samarco disaster Design flaws behind Samarco disaster Design flaws behind Samarco disaster

Devastation after Samarco tailings dam burst

A report commissioned by the two companies found design modifications and construction flaws made the dam unstable, causing “liquefaction”, whereby insufficient drainage softened the sand defences,

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