Monday 4 February 2019 7:45 pm

Rio Tinto pledges to take part in 'any industry-wide response' after tragedy at Vale Brazilian dam

London-listed miner Rio Tinto will take part in any industry response to the Brazilian dam tragedy which is thought to have killed over 300 people.

Top executive Simone Niven told delegates at a Cape Town conference the company was looking into the way it ensures its dams are safe.

Read more: Church of England sells shares in miner Vale after dam disaster kills hundreds

“We conduct regular monitoring audits and our dams are subject to independent third party reviews,” Niven said.

“Even so, our technical teams are working very hard, right now, to consider what more we can and should do. We will take part in any industry-wide response.”

Over 120 people died, and hundreds more are still missing after a dam operated by miner Vale collapsed late last month.

If the missing are confirmed dead, the tragedy will become the worst mining disaster in Brazilian history.

Today, a Brazilian court ordered Vale to stop production at its largest mine in Minas Gerais state, where the dam collapsed.

The Brucutu mine produces around 30m tonnes of iron ore per year, local media reported.

On Saturday, the country’s solicitor general hit out against Vale, saying the world’s biggest iron miner has to change its behaviour, increase transparency and cooperate with authorities after the disaster.

“We need to have an effective assumption by Vale of its responsibility for the event […] So, we expect effective, quick responses from Vale regarding the disaster,” Andre Mendonca said.

The event has worried miners from around the world, who are currently meeting in South Africa for the annual Mining Indaba conference.

Read more: Vale takes £1bn hit as it sacrifices output for safety after mining disaster

Barrick Gold chief executive Mark Bristow told reporters that his management is “paranoid” about its tailing dams after the disaster, news site Moneyweb reported.

“The responsibility never leaves the executive team,” even when third parties sign off on the dams, Bristow said.

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